Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marc Lépine's Gendercide: The Montreal Massacre

First Victims

As the lone man entered the room, a few people looked over at him and he offered a slight smile, as if to apologize for the interruption. He looked at the women, as if to make certain of where they sat. Used to students arriving late, Professors Yvan Bouchard and Adrien Cernea both ignored him.

But then the grinning man in the baseball cap ordered them all to pay attention. "Everyone stop everything," he insisted. Professor Bouchard looked over, annoyed. He squinted as if trying to remember who this student was.

In French, the young man asked the 10 female students to get up and move across the room. He then told the men to leave. No one moved. A few people laughed, as if this were some kind of joke. That was the worst thing they could have done. He had been humiliated enough in his 25 years. On this day, of all days, he was not going to be treated in that way.

Lifting his rifle, he shot twice into the ceiling. It was no joke.

"You're all a of bunch of feminists!" the man shouted, his eyes now alight with anger. "And I hate feminists!"

This time, he ordered the women to get up from their seats and the men to leave. A few moved to obey, but others remained confused. They wondered whether they should try to overpower the gunman, protect the women, or leave. The choice as to what was best was unclear. But after a few moments, the male students and teachers walked outside. In weeks to come, many of them would have nightmares about this moment, reliving it over and over, wishing they had acted differently.

When the 10 women had moved into the specified corner, the gunman explained his reason for being there. According to survivors who spoke later to police or reporters, he told them that he was there on behalf of males. "I'm fighting feminism." Women had been taking employment and opportunities away from men, he said, and feminists needed to be taught their place.

Nathalie Provost tried to tell him that they were not necessarily feminists, but this only enraged him. He lifted the rifle again and, as they screamed for mercy or tried to leap out of range, he methodically shot them from left to right. All were hit. Provost was shot three times.

Maryse Laganiere
Maryse Laganiere

The men waiting outside heard the shots and the agonized or frightened screams. They could hardly believe what was happening. At least 20 rounds had been fired. A few ran down the hall to raise an alarm and find someone who could call for help, while others waited.

Then the gunman came out and strode past them. No one tried to stop him. No one dared. He aimed the rifle precariously at them and they backed away, allowing him to leave. He fired at several other students on that floor, and three more were hit, including two women. Then he continued on his way.

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