Thousands Pay Respects to Slain Women
MONTREAL (AP) _ Thousands of grieving men and women filed by a row of white coffins Sunday, paying respects to the 14 women killed by a gunman shouting ″I hate feminists″ during Canada’s worst mass murder.
The flower-draped coffins of eight of the victims were placed in the University of Montreal’s hall of honor, and mourners passed by quietly in single file.
″It’s a shame that such a thing could happen in this world,″ said Yvon Lechance, a phone company manager. He said he and his family, including two university students, were there as ″part of the human family.″
A funeral service for nine of the victims will be held Monday morning at the Notre Dame cathedral. The other families scheduled private ceremonies.
Police said Marc Lepine, 25, burst into the University of Montreal’s engineering school Wednesday and shot at women he encountered before killing himself with his semi-automatic rifle.
He also wounded nine women and four men.
Many of the mourners Sunday were university students, but there also were hundreds of older people. The University of Montreal is the largest in the province of Quebec with about 50,000 students.
The line of mourners extended around the building as about 900 people passed by the coffins each hour. Others were still waiting in line at dusk as snow started falling.
Martine Leprince, a professor of English at Concordia University, said she was there ″because I teach. I keep seeing that classroom and the man coming in. I feel as if I was there myself or my daughter was there.″
Witnesses of Wednesday’s terrible rampage said Lepine shouted, ″I want the women 3/8″ and ″You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists 3/8″ as he opened fire after separating the men from the women in one classroom where six women were killed.
The Montreal Gazette on Sunday quoted an unidentified police officer as saying one of the victims was stabbed to death during the massacre, and the others were shot.
It said the stabbing victim was Maryse Leclair, whose father, police public relations director Pierre Leclair, found her dead when he went to the scene.
Police said earlier the killer had a hunting knife and a rifle that he purchased Nov. 21 at a local sport shop.
A suicide letter found on Lepine’s body blamed women for much of his unhappiness, police said. They also said Lepine had taken courses apparently with the hope of entering the engineering school. No record has been found that he ever applied.