Montreal Massacre Remembered
Dec. 04, 1999
TORONTO (AP) _ With song, speeches, and a continuing push for gun control, Canadians on Saturday remembered the 14 women killed in the country's worst mass shooting ten years ago.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a 25-year-old man dressed in hunting clothes and firing a semiautomatic rifle shot the women in classrooms and the cafeteria of the Ecole Polytechnique at the University of Montreal.
When he realized his final victim was still alive, Marc Lepine stabbed her to death with a knife, then muttered an expletive and shot himself in the face to end the massacre.
Ten years later, survivors and victims' families and friends have cited the tragedy as an example for why Canada needed to tighten restrictions on gun ownership and outlaw automatic weapons like the one Lepine used.
Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque planned to unveil a monument to the victims Sunday at a park near the engineering school.
On Monday's anniversary, most Montreal schools will be closed so teachers and other school board employees can attend a conference on youth violence at the Molson Center sports arena.
Special concerts by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Quebec performers were planned, and radio stations in Quebec were to play a song written for the anniversary called Quatorze _ the French-language word for 14, the number victims. It was recorded by 14 female vocalists.
``When people hear the song, I want them to become aware that everyone has a stake in reducing violence,'' said Jacques Thivierge, who wrote the words. ``It's not only special organizations, psychologists, schools and teachers. It's everyone.''
Those most affected _ the family of the victims _ said they have gathered each year to commemorate their loved ones.
``Sometimes we wonder if we should continue,'' said Claire Roberge, whose 21-year-old stepdaughter, Genevieve Bergeron, died in the massacre. ``We always say yes. We want to keep our promises.''