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The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Update: Reconstructing the Dawson College shooting moment by moment


More information has been trickling in about what happened at Dawson College the day of Kimveer Gill's murderous rampage.

A lot of it is found on blogs, message boards, and internet forums which provide fascinating details of what went on.

Here, then, is an update to our previous post Reconstructing the Dawson College Shooting Moment by Moment.

Reading them together will give you the clearest account of what happened that terrible day.


1. Kimveer Gill parked his car in front of the school on de Maissoneuve Blvd., two or three car lengths from Wood Avenue. We had thought he parked on Wood because that's where the first witnesses were walking.

The day of the shooting, Tip-C, one of four young men who walked past Gill as he was taking his guns out of the trunk of his car, posted what he saw on montrealracing:


I saw the actual shooter!!!I think i was one of the first ppl to see him
so heres my story...
im walking with 3 of my friends down the maisonneuve going west!
as were walking, we see this goth guy coming out a black 2 door sunfire!
he opens the trunk and pulls out a HUGE RIFLE!!!
like 2 and a half feet long!!
then i look at the ppl im with, wondering wtf is this guy doing!!!
then as we pass by him, thinking like is this some kind of joke or something.

AND THEN......

We walk like 4-5 feet past him and turn arround and see the guy ****ing POINTING THAT RIFFLE AT US....LOOKING TROUGHT THE SCOPE AS IF HES ABOUT TO SHOT.....

I dont know what went trought his head but he descided not to shoot and went the other way twards dawson!then me and my friends turn the corner and go up wood street!and were like wtf was that all about....i was freaken out, i didint know if it was real or not that gun....so we keep walking and like 3 min after, we get calls on our phones that there was a shooting...

i started to flip the **** out!!!!!!!!!!
i couldent believe how close i came to getting shot....the guy was 3-4 meters away from us....about to shoot!!!!!!!!

I STILL CANT BELIEVE IT!!!so thats my story!!!

Tip-C, it turns out, is Marco Zampino, the son of Montreal's executive committee chairman.

2. Other students also noticed the six-one Gill, who, in trench coat, mohawk haircut, and huge black boots, dressed to be noticed. Tamara Ohnona and Alexis Roditi noticed him before enterring the campus.

Roditi thought the gun was a movie prop. Ohnona wasn't taking chances. She raced to alert campus security. When she got to the office she found two other students had the same idea and beat her there.


3. Gill timed his arrival better than we thought.

He was still early, but not as much as we surmised. The first shots were reported at 12:41 p.m. Noon-hour classes end at 12:45. If the halls hadn't been cleared by panicky students raising the alarm, they would have been filled with unsuspecting targets for Gill's bullets.


4. Earwitnesses say they heard Gill fire about 10 shots before entering Dawson College. We can account for eight shots.

Two hit Meaghan Henneghan, in the right buttock and right forearm.


Two hit Catalin Romano, in the chest and abdomen. One his brother Mihai in the buttocks as he ran into the bushes. And three shots hit Hayder Kadhim, in the head, the neck and the left calf.

Kadhim managed to run almost a block before his leg gave out on him and he collapsed.

Kadhim is out of hospital and recovering at his parent's apartment. He was in a coma for 20 hours and the doctors say there's more danger trying to remove the bullets from his head and neck than leaving them in. The bullet in his neck is touching his spine.

By sheer coincident, Kahdim was bringing a CD for Anastasia DeSousa, the girl murdered by Gill only minutes later.


5. The two policeman who were parked across the street from Dawson College reacted immediately to hearing shots.

Theo Workman posted this on flickr:
I go on a private message board, and a former student got some of these comments/stories from friends who currently attend:



Three of my friends were outside the main entrance where the shooter walked in shooting (this is still where my first friend was shot). One ran away and the other two dove on the ground. One of my friends dropped down right next to the guy that was shot in the neck. My friends said the cops were already there at the time (incredible luck, they were there on unrelated business), and with their guns drawn telling the suspect to drop his weapon and freeze. They said the cops could have shot him right there. The suspect walked in calmly, detached from the reality around him.

6. As we inferred, this wasn't Gill's first time inside Dawson College.

Jess at fanbolt.com forums:

The shooter had no affiliation to Dawson college, but he was spotted at the school a week or so before everything happened and some people say they saw him in August. He was obviously checking the school out and what he was going to do. There are still so many rumours going around, but apparently he attended another college in the area for one semester years ago, Vanier college.

7. It's proving almost impossible to determine how many people Gill shot in the hallway as he approached the atrium, and how many he wounded in the atrium itself. Names of the wounded keep floating up through the blogosphere.

My good friend Domanic was there, he attends that college and I'm very afriad for him. His sister called me earlier and he had been shot, hes not dead thank god but hes very ingured. He was shot in the leg and needs reconstuctive surgery.

And this one:

Cait was downstairs at her locker. she didn't know what was happening until the third or fourth gunshot broke through the sounds of her music.

she ran when she saw someone fall so close to her.

Mandi wasn't so lucky. she was shot in the leg. thankfully not fatal but enough to leave her scarred.

swear, i thought everything was alright. i thought everyone that i knew got out alright. apparently not. oh dear god, please.joel's apparently fine. he got shot in the arm. his gf though, was shot in teh stomach.

( FURTHER UPDATE: Catherine Mandilares suffered a gunshot in the leg. Joel Kornek was shot in the left arm. And his girlfriend Jessica Albert was wounded in the chest and abdomen. Kornek was hit in the left arm, with the bullet passing through his chest and coming out through his right arm. Albert was shot point blank in the chest from about three feet away. The bullet went through her diaphragm, liver, intestines at two points, spleen and pancreas. All three have since been released from hospital. )

We repeated the story of film prof Dipti Gupta who sheltered a girl shot in the leg.

Two of his students posted their own stories. Sophie at -13

I was in class at the time, on the fourth floor. It was Experimental Film class, and the teacher was about to put a movie on. We heard shots outside, and the sound of people running and yelling. Some kid went outside to investigate, then came back in saying to our teacher, "Miss, I think we should get the fuck out of here. I think there's some actual shooting going on." We were all about to leave before our teacher called us back inside, telling us to barricade the door.

Some kids ran into our room. One girl was shot in the leg and she was carried inside by two guys and laid on the teacher's desk. She was screaming and crying and wanted to talk to her mother. Her leg was going numb, she kept saying. We tried to keep her quiet, so she wouldn't attract the gunman's attention. Some of the kids went over to hold her hand, while the rest of us huddled in corners.

Another student, who requested not to be identified or linked to, said this in an internet post:

Alex had just walked me to class, I sat down, made myself comfortable and concentrated on watching a confusing experimental black-and white-film. The guy behind me had fallen asleep, I'd exchanged a few meaningful glances with the girl beside me, everything was as it should be. I was thinking about the break, I was craving Vanilla Coffee from the cafeteria, I wanted to invite the girl beside me. We might've been friends.

Then, we heard what we assumed were firecrackers outside. For a moment, we exchanged worried glances, then smiled and returned to the movie. It must be the theater students, or a joke, or some event. Dawson has over 10 000 students, thus you can always expect someone pranking their classmates.

When the sound subsided, we heard screams in the hall and what sounded like a stampede. A chubby guy from the front of the class decided to check it out. He poked his head out from the door with an expectant grin, I think he felt excited, just like the rest of us. Never would it have occured to us that something serious might be happening. He swung the door open while we all fidgeted in our seats. The firecrackers went on again and more screams were heard. Suddenly, it wasn't a game anymore. We all bolted from our seats when we saw the expression with which he turned back to the class: panic.


I looked around, some paced the class, others sat in their seats, stunned. "There's a gunman..." the guy confirmed our worries.


The next thing I knew I was huddled under a table with 2 girls I'd never met, all 3 of us in tears. A few moments later, a girl was carried into our classroom screaming. I didn't see her but she was crying out that she couldnt feel her leg. I later found out her name is Charlene and she graduated from high school with me.

8. Yves Morin, the carpenter shot in the shoulder by Gill, was probably the last person to be wounded. He had taken refuge when he spotted a female student passing by. She was crying and panic-stricken. She was headed to the atrium to hide.

«Elle a ouvert la porte et j'ai vu le gars en noir. Je lui ai dit : Couche-toi et en même temps, j'ai pris sa main pour la coucher par terre», raconte-t-il. «J'ai soudainement été projeté par terre. J'ai senti une douleur à mon épaule et il y avait du sang. J'ai dit : Tabarnouche, il m'a tiré» (Le Journal de Montreal)

9. It appears that lots of students headed to the atrium to find safety from the shooter.
Folksvagen (montrealracing.com)17:55
My GF was at the Atrium, suddenly she saw all these kids running into the Cafe from the outside, crying and screaming (the kids who saw the first shooting - outside), but noone would tell what was going on !!!... My gf finally understood what was happening when she saw the gunner walk in... if kids would have told the others what was going on, maybe the Atrium kids could have ran away...

10. The blogged accounts of what happened inside the atrium are chilling.

Six of my friends were in the main cafeteria where the shooting occured. One was playing cards, dropped to the ground and took cover. My friends sister was in the caf across the hall, she escaped through a back door.

The other four were sitting at a table right next to the shooter. The killer told one of my friends to hold his bag of ammunition. He shot a girl that was sitting at his table, who happened to be his girlfriend. The shooter grabbed my friend by the arm, "Is your girlfriend dead?! Is she dead?!". "I don't know!" My friend screamed. The suspect shot her in the head. "Well now she is." (Theo Workman's former student)

It's clear this is an account of the shooting of Anastasia DeSousa, although the student with her was not her boyfriend. The post continues...

One of those four at the table was shot twice in the head, but survived. As of last night, the doctors had removed one bullet from his brain, but swelling prevented them from removing the second.

This was Leslie Markofsky, 22, a student at Concordia University who was visiting a friend. He remains in a coma.

DeSousa and Markofsky sat at the same table and were shot one after another.

The other students in the atrium hit the deck. But before Gill could continue his killing, a police officer burst in and fired a shot at him.

Gill backed into an alcove holding vending machines. It was enclosed by walls on three sides.

A female student told CBC Montreal News at Six:

"He was yelling out like, ˜Come get me, motherfuckers, gimme your best fucking shot. Who do you think you are?"

Police and Gill exchanged volleys of shots. Whenever there was an interval, boys would make a run for safety in ones and twos.

At one lull in the shooting , Dawson College security guard Vincent Pascale, a military reservist, crawled along the floor of the atrium and got about 40 students to crawl back en masse and out of the line of fire.


That left only about ten terrified students in the atrium with Gill.

One of them was Josh Perl who was protecting a girl who had been shot in the leg. Perl stirred up some controversy when he said his hopes of rescue were dashed when a police officer spoke with Gill---and left

According to Perl, at one point, a police officer entered the room, aimed his gun directly at Gill and ordered him to drop his weapon. [Gill] said: 'I'm not dropping my weapon,' and the policeman turned and left.
Perl and the girl were shot after this, and Perl said he doesn't understand why the police left. (Canadian Jewish News)

The girl beside him was partially hidden behind a table and he was shielding her head with his left arm. Gill shot him in the arm near the elbow.

Bleeding profusely, Perl waited for another break in the shooting, and ran to the back of the room to safety.

He posted this message on montrealracing.

If you read today's Gazette it might give you some insight into my story. MR, it's tearing me apart that I still don't know the identity of the girl that was with me on the caf floor. It was just us left covering for our lives as police ran in and didn't take him down. I witnessed her taking shots to the legs and screaming. I covered her head and got shot myself. Please, if anyone could help me with who the girl is send me a PM...

The girl Josh protected was Lisa Mezzacapa, who survived.

New details of the final moments of the standoff are in the Internet exchanges.

Chevelle71
14:11
My sisters friend was held hostage, and was asked if he wanted to die, shortly after the gunman shot him self

Chevelle71
16:59
I said what happened before at like 2pmHe had 2 hostages with him, asked one if he wanted to die, teased him. He then said thats hes gonna die today and was laughing. He got shot by the cops, and turned the gun on himself.And before that he killed the girl , im not gonna say her name..But no one believed me and said i was full of shit...

Chevelle71
20:01
the cops shot him but he didnt die, he then turned the gun to himself, but before he pulled the trigger, he made fun of one of the suspects pants , laughed and pulled the trigger

TheHated
17:57
the guy went around and put his arm around a random person and was like, "Yo man, im gonna die today, i cant wait i wonder what its gonna feel like, im so exited, im gonna die today"..

A story in the St. Petersburg Times puts in the final piece of the puzzle.

When Dawson officially reopened on Monday, students flocked to the cafeteria, where the bullet holes in columns had been repaired and a wall of shattered glass doors had been covered in plywood. Everybody wanted to look. A white-haired couple wandered in with a video camera.

Vincent Pascale, a Dawson security supervisor who helped dozens of students escape on the day of the shooting, pointed out the place where Gill had fallen after being shot by a police officer on a balcony one floor up.

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