By: Janice Dayle
A school of 10,000 in the heart of Montreal's city centre, Dawson College, became venue to a bloody massacre, senseless maiming and what has turned out to be the most horrifying experiences for mainly youth aged 16 to 18 and their families. On September 13, 2006 19 people were shot, after a lone gunman identified as Kimveer Gill triggered a hail of bullets randomly on whoever he encountered, before taking his own life during a police shootout.
Doctor Tarek Razek, trauma director at The Montreal General Hospital confirmed today in a press conference that four critically injured people were still in intensive care with one of the four in a coma - and four others were on the hospital ward, (Thursday). Anastasia Desouza, 18 year old student of International Business succumbed to her wounds and died right on the school premises.
The scene at the seven storey high college that connects directly by underground passageway to major shopping and business complexes as well as a subway station was chaotic. Police had been in the area about other business, so were very quick to respond. One student explained how she looked out a classroom only to see SWAT team members dashing around in the school yard. While the mayhem was erupting and for some time afterwards many students were oblivious to it all.
The student, a second generation Jamaican who wished not to be named, said "Added to the trauma of realising our school was under siege we were led out of the classroom by police who minutes before told us there were possibly four shooters." The student felt as if she was being guided into the line of fire, and made what she termed the longest walk through volumes of blood, indicating only death to her. "I remember saying to myself, whoever lost all that blood must be dead." In the next few days - parents, teachers, doctors and analysts will work hard at making sense of it all - while the students nurse their ruffled psyches.
Some are saying society has ignored troubling signs, like those signs police uncovered on Gill's website, that has been since torn down. Vampire.com hosted the killer's site where his lonely sadistic behaviour was nurtured to the point that a brutal and destructive incident resulted. The police authorities in Montreal, who are currently keenly reviewing their cyber space surveillance strategies, have been intently vigilant from the onset of this disaster - although criticisms from some who were affected have been pronounced.
Besides the Jamaican student's angst, the family of the student who was slain has publicised their anger at the police for not informing them of their loved one's death early enough. It was only after frantically searching for her at the scene and at hospitals, and not until close to 10pm in the night, did they get news of her death. "We're pissed," Desouza's uncle said to reporters on Thursday. His niece's body was removed from the scene only after thorough police investigations - at around 6am the next morning.
Memorials have gone up outside the college. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is regretful and pledges to address legislature around gun registry. Police reported, Gill obtained his weapons legally.