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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Probe into Canada college attack
Policeman directs a man to safety near Dawson School
Police were on the scene in minutes
Police in Canada are investigating the attack on a Montreal college in which a gunman ran amok, killing a young woman before being shot dead himself.

The city's police chief ruled out racism or terrorism as the motive for the attack at Dawson College, which was reportedly carried out by a local man.

Nineteen people were also wounded - six of them critically - in the rampage.

A BBC correspondent says there is a deep sense of shock in Montreal and across Canada over the shooting.

But it is slowly giving way to questions about the gunman's motives and how this could have happened in a country that prides itself on its tough gun control laws, the BBC's Lee Carter says.

'Perfect niece'

Yvan Delorme, Montreal's chief of police, said the motive was unknown but he rejected some of the early theories being reported.

Two Dawson college students
I was in my calculus class when I heard three shots... we saw one guy on the floor bleeding
Jose Rafael Heredia
Dawson College student

"There is no racist connotation whatsoever," he said on Wednesday. "This is not related... to terrorism."

The investigation, he added, was currently limited to the dead man alone.

The man was shot dead by police officers who arrived within minutes of the attack beginning.

Clad in black and carrying three weapons, the gunman had entered the canteen of Dawson College during the lunch hour.

Some students fled in terror as he opened fire, while others barricaded themselves in classrooms.

The dead woman was named by Canadian newspapers as Anastasia De Sousa, 18.

"She was full of life, she was the perfect little niece," her uncle Real Hevy told the Montreal Gazette.

Six of the victims are in a critical condition in the intensive care unit at Montreal General Hospital.

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN CANADA
28 April, 1999: 14-year-old boy kills one student, wounds one other at a high school in Taber, Alberta - eight days after Columbine massacre
24 August, 1992: Professor Valery Fabrikant kills four colleagues at Concordia University, Montreal
6 December, 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, kills 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, then kills himself
28 May, 1975: 16-year-old high school student kills a teacher and a student, wounds 13 others before killing himself in Brampton, Ontario

They are recovering from surgery after sustaining gunshot wounds to the head and stomach, hospital spokeswoman Sheila Moore told the BBC News website.

Two are in a "very critical condition", she said.

A further five people injured in the attack are "stable and recuperating" on a regular ward.

Some Dawson College students described how the shooting began at about 1245 local time (1645 GMT), and said 20 shots were heard over a half-hour period.

The gunman, said to be wearing a black trench coat and military boots and with a Mohawk haircut, appeared emotionless as he fired his weapons.

"He said nothing. He had a stone cold face... He just started opening fire," one student said.

Others told of how he pursued terrified students along corridors and up stairwells.

Map of Canada

Those who could not escape barricaded the doors to classrooms and hid themselves under their desks.

Canada's prime minister called the shooting "a cowardly and senseless act of violence".

"Our primary concern right now is to ensure the safety and recovery of all those who were injured during this tragedy," Stephen Harper said.

The shooting revived memories of a December 1989 attack in Montreal when a gunman shot and killed 14 young women in the Ecole Polytechnique before turning the gun on himself.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Police evacuate students from the college in Montreal



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