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Gunman Kills One, Wounds 19 in Shooting Spree at Montreal College

A lone gunman wearing a black trench coat and sporting a mohawk opened fire Wednesday in the crowded cafeteria of a Montreal college, killing a young woman and wounding at least 19 before he was killed by officers, Montreal police and witnesses said.

Police Sgt. Francois Dore said that the attacker was a 25-year-old man from the Montreal area, but he did not provide a name or any further details about the man. Dore said his car was still at the school and police were searching his apartment.

Neither race or terrorism played a role in the attack at Dawson College, police said.

Students described horror and fear upon learning what was happening.

"I saw the gunman who was dressed in black and at that time he was shooting at people," student Michel Boyer told CTV. "I immediately hit the floor. It was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life."

"He was shooting randomly, I didn't know what he was shooting at, but everyone was screaming, Get out of the building!" Boyer said. "Everybody was in tears. Everybody was so worried for their own safety for their own lives."

Video: Eyewitness Account of Dawson College Shooting Spree

Scores of students fled into the surrounding streets after the shooting broke out just after 1 p.m. EDT at the school of about 10,000. Some of them had bloody clothes. Live TV coverage from the scene showed police surrounding the campus and training their weapons on people exiting the buildings with their hands in the air.

Police hid behind a wall as they exchanged fire with the gunman, whose back was against a vending machine, said student Andrea Barone, who was in the cafeteria. He said the officers proceeded cautiously because many students were trapped around the assailant, who yelled "Get back! Get back!" every time an officer tried to move closer.

Barone said a police officer emerged from a corner next to the cafeteria and fired a shot in the direction of the gunman no more than several yards away and missed him. Five or six more police officers showed up, he said. Barone said it was like a running battle with five or six shots fired in both directions every minute.

Eventually, Barone said, the gunman went down in hail of gunfire.

After police eventually killed the gunman, the officers helped the students leave the cafeteria, crawling out on their bellies along a wall.

Barone said as they were crawling out toward an exit they saw a girl who had been shot in the torso and who was face down surrounded by a pool of blood.

He said officers told them: "Don't look, don't look. Keep going out."

Authorities did not provide any information about the attacker. Police spokesman Ean Lafreniere said there was just one gunman at the school and the search for any others was over.

Although police initially suggested the gunman had killed himself, Police Director Yvan DeLorme later said at a news conference that "based on current information, the suspect was killed by police."

Montreal General Hospital said 11 people were admitted, including eight who were in critical condition. Nine others were taken to two other hospitals. One young woman later died, a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the victim's next-of-kin had not yet been notified.

Raamias Hernandez, 19, said he had just finished his class when he saw everybody starting to run.

He said the gunman was dressed in a black jacket and had a mohawk haircut. Hernandez said he started to take pictures on a camera cell phone with his friend and the suspect saw them and started shooting.

Fast Facts: Dawson College

Student Devansh Smri Vastava said he saw a man in military fatigues with "a big rifle" storm the cafeteria.

"He just started shooting at people," Vastava said, adding that he heard about 20 shots fired. He also said teachers ran through the halls telling students to get out.

"We all ran upstairs. There were cops firing. It was so crazy," Vastava said. "I was terrified. The guy was shooting at people randomly. He didn't care he was just shooting at everybody. I just got out."

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Derick Osei, 19, said he was walking down the stairs to the cafeteria when he saw a man with a gun.

"He ... just started shooting up the place. I ran up to the third floor and I looked down and he was still shooting," Osei said. "He was hiding behind the vending machines and he came out with a gun and started pointing and pointed at me. So I ran up the stairs. I saw a girl get shot in the leg."

CountryWatch: Canada

Osei said people in the cafeteria were all lying on the floor.

"I saw the gunman who was dressed in black and at that time he was shooting at people," student Michel Boyer told CTV. "I immediately hit the floor. It was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life."

"He was shooting randomly, I didn't know what he was shooting at, but everyone was screaming get out of the building," Boyer said. "Everybody was in tears. Everybody was so worried for their own safety for their own lives."

People also were evacuated from two nearby shopping centers.

"Today we have witnessed a cowardly and senseless act of violence unfold at Montreal's Dawson College," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. "Our primary concern right now is to ensure the safety and recovery of all those who were injured during this tragedy."

The shooting recalled the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students wearing trench coats killed 13 people before committing suicide.

Canada's worst mass shooting also happened in Montreal. Gunman Marc Lapine killed 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnic on Dec. 6, 1989, before shooting himself.

The 25-year-old Lapine roamed the halls of the school firing a rifle, specifically targeting women whom he claimed in a suicide note had ruined his life. Nine other women and four men were wounded.

That shooting spurred efforts for tighter gun laws and greater awareness of societal violence — particularly domestic abuse. Canada's tighter gun law was achieved mainly as the results of efforts by survivors and relatives of the victims.

Another shooting in Montreal occurred in 1992, when a Concordia University professor killed four colleagues.

Dawson College was the first English-language institution in Quebec's network of university preparatory colleges when it was founded in 1969. It is the largest college of general and vocational education, known by its French acronym CEGEP, in the province.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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