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Montreal Shooter Wanted to `Die in a Hail of Gunfire'

Kimveer Gill, 25, who killed himself after his rampage, kept a Web log that chronicled his rage and included photos of himself with guns.

September 15, 2006|Sheldon Chad and Maggie Farley | Special to The Times

MONTREAL — The night before Wednesday's deadly shooting rampage at a downtown college here, Kimveer Gill, 25, wrote on his blog that he was drinking whiskey and listening to heavy-metal music. He lamented that he had nothing special to write about.

Hours later, after a little sleep and a breakfast of eggs, toast and more whiskey, Gill headed to Dawson College, police said, armed with an AK-47, a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun.

At 12:41 p.m., Gill opened fire, killing Anastasia DeSousa, 18, and wounding at least 19 others. Four of the victims remained in critical condition Thursday, three in extremely critical condition and one in a coma, hospital officials said.

Police shot Gill in the arm, and he lifted a gun to his head and fired one last time.

The picture that emerged Thursday of the mohawk-wearing gunman, from his journal on a Goth website called vampirefreaks.com, offered a portrait of a disaffected young man consumed by hate, rejection and a desire to "die in a hail of gunfire."

Gill seemed to have modeled his rampage on the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, even wearing a black trench coat and boots like the Columbine shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

Gill's online name was "fatality666," and he introduced himself in the third person, writing: "His name is Trench. You will come to know him as the Angel of Death."

He posted more than 50 photos, some showing him wearing a black trench coat and hoisting a semiautomatic weapon. In another picture, he aimed a gun at the camera, with a caption reading, "I think I have an obbsetion [sic] with guns muahahaha."

His blog, written over nine months, provided an instant history of his fixations: Columbine, video games, and high school slights and crushes.

His favorite video games included "Postal," in which the player goes on a shooting spree. He was a Canadian whose parents emigrated from India, and he lived with his mother in Laval, a suburb of Montreal.

The blog gave a glimpse of his predicted end: an image of a tombstone with his name on it and an epitaph: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse."

Police spokesman Chantal Mackels confirmed the shooter's name and said he was born in Canada.

As provincial police investigated the shooting, and college officials scrambled to clean up bloodstained floors and provide counseling to students, people in Montreal sought to make sense of the attack.

In the movie "Bowling for Columbine," director Michael Moore said that a Columbine-type attack would never happen in a place such as Canada.

Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Assn. for Canadian Studies, said Thursday that Gill was part of a community of alienated young people from around the world who found and encouraged each other on the Internet, expressing rebellion through hatred and violence.

Warning signs abounded, he said, but went unmonitored. Gill offered up the results of an Internet survey he took called "How Likely Are You to Go Postal?" The survey said he had an "84% chance of going postal." His "probability of killing" was 86%.

"Consider yourself a danger to society," the website told him.

"People saw the pictures of the rifles and the guns on his site," Jedwab said. "These subcultures are unfettered and unadulterated."

Someone needs to watch them, he added.

On his blog, Gill venerated the Postal Dude character from the video game, whom he perceived as "sad, before he goes crazy," and also dwelled on a girl he knew 10 years ago in high school.

"One time," Gill wrote, "I saw her in a dream. She was just standing there smiling at me. She looked like a princess."

Relatives of the woman said Thursday that she barely remembered Gill.

"He always looked like he was in his own little world," said the woman's sister, who also went to school with Gill. "I don't remember him having many friends. My sister was in the cool crowd, and he was a loner."

Gill lived on the fringes of mainstream Canadian society.

"Out of that powerlessness comes the need to strike out, to feel just for once in one's life to be omnipotent, to make one's mark, to overcome all the rules, the punishments," said Victor Levant, a psychotherapist and professor of humanities at John Abbott College in Montreal.

"I see him preparing to get ready, with every hurt and loss, knowing that for once he'll be somebody to remember. The students in front of him, the blood, are just proof of his power."

Although Gill's journal remains on the website, police asked the owners of the site to remove his profile and photos.

The profile was removed Thursday morning, replaced with a note saying, "This user does not exist."

maggie.farley@latimes.com

Special correspondent Chad reported from Montreal and staff writer Farley from New York.

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