The École Polytechnique massacre (French: tuerie de l’École polytechnique), also known as the Montreal massacre, was a mass shooting in Montreal at an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal. Fourteen women were murdered and a further fourteen people were injured: ten women and four men.
On December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine (born Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi) entered a mechanical engineering class at the École Polytechnique and ordered the women and men to opposite sides of the classroom. He separated nine women, instructing the men to leave. He stated that he was “fighting feminism” and opened fire. He shot at all nine women in the room, killing six.
Lépine then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, targeting women for just under 20 minutes before turning the gun on himself. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.
In a search for a rationale since the attack there have been debates over various interpretations of the events, their significance, and Lépine’s motives. Many characterize the massacre as an anti-feminist attack representative of wider societal violence against women.
The anniversary of the massacre has been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Other interpretations emphasize the effect of Lépine’s history of abuse as a child, suggest that the massacre was simply the isolated act of a madman unrelated to larger social issues. Others have blamed violence in the media, as well as social issues such as poverty, isolation, and alienation in society and particularly in immigrant communities. Others point to Gharbi’s exposure to his birth father’s misogynist attitude.
- Geneviève Bergeron (1968–1989), civil engineering student
- Hélène Colgan (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Nathalie Croteau (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Barbara Daigneault (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Anne-Marie Edward (1968–1989), chemical engineering student
- Maud Haviernick (1960–1989), materials engineering student
- Maryse Laganière (1964–1989), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
- Maryse Leclair (1966–1989), materials engineering student
- Anne-Marie Lemay (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Sonia Pelletier (1961–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Michèle Richard (1968–1989), materials engineering student
- Annie St-Arneault (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Annie Turcotte (1969–1989), materials engineering student
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958–1989), nursing student
In addition, suicides were later reported among students who had been present at the time of the massacre. At least two students left notes confirming that they committed suicide due to distress caused by the massacre.