Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marc Lépine's Gendercide: The Montreal Massacre

Unfinished Business

One student who saw the shooter later told the Gazette how the slight, young man seemed to have a real facility with his weapon. "He had his rifle in both hands, pointing up above his shoulder, like he could slip it down and fire real fast."

Apparently when he spotted only men, he left them alone, but if they were with women, they might become targets as well. A few were hit, but mostly in the arm or shoulder.

Nathalie Crouteau
Nathalie Crouteau

Ten minutes into his rampage, the gunman entered the cafeteria, walking past the festive red and white balloons. He spotted a woman in line to get food, lifted his rifle and shot her, even as her husband was swept to the floor by the sudden stampede. Two other women were shot as well, and were left slumped in their chairs.

By that time, police had arrived and assembled outside. Several went to cover the exits, lest the gunman slip away, but it took nearly 20 minutes before they decided to enter. They were not certain where he was and did not wish to endanger anyone. Calls went to a dispatcher for more ambulances, and those wounded students who could walk on their own went to meet them at the roadblocks.

Helene Colgan
Helene Colgan

Inside, the shooter climbed the escalator to the third floor, where he fired at a woman and two men, and then passed classroom B-311 with windows that allowed anyone in the hallway to see inside. Surprisingly, class was still in session. No one had thought to warn these people to get out. Two professors and 26 students were inside, proceeding as if nothing was happening.

Two young men and a woman were in the middle of giving a presentation on a platform. Maryse Leclair was the female student, in her final year of the program, and her father was the director of communications for the city police. She didn't know it, but he was on his way. And he could not know that his daughter was in danger.

"Get out, get out!" the gunman shouted.

They looked at him but no one moved. No one knew what to do. One student later told reporters that the gun had looked like a toy. It was hard to take this man seriously, especially on the last day of the term.

To emphasize his point, he aimed the rifle at Maryse Leclair and shot her. She gasped and fell to the platform, blood staining her shirt from the wound to her abdomen. Then he turned the rifle on students sitting in the front row. They dove for cover beneath the desks. The man was serious.