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Marc Lepine, mass murderer

For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.

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Marc Lepine likely began hating women as a child, explains Elliott Leyton, a Memorial University professor and expert on the psychology behind mass killings. In this CBC Radio interview, Leyton also says Lepine had probably planned the École Polytechnique massacre for weeks or months. Mass murderers plot out their killings ahead of time in order to "take out" as many people as possible from a given group in society.

Lepine blamed his own personal failure on women and believed they prevented him from achieving success. Lepine's own suicide also fits the mass murderer profile, which differs from that of serial killers who want to "bask in their glory and become celebrities."
• Elliott Leyton has written a number of books on murder in Canada, including Hunting Humans, about the rise of the multiple murderer. In it he argues the mass murder, which was an anomaly in the 1960s, has become more prevalent.

• Marc Lepine's classmates said he didn't do drugs or drink but had an obsession with war movies. His lab partner Sylvie Drouin described Lepine as a "pretty nice guy" who was good with computers. She also said he could be bossy with women.

• In 1999 the Toronto Star reported that Marc Lepine was born Gamil Gharbi to an Algerian mutual fund salesman who thought "all women were chattels." The article said Lepine's father beat him until he bled from the nose and ears and didn't allow his mother, a nurse and former nun, to console her son. It also reported that Lepine's mother was often "humiliated, smashed up against walls and beaten." Lepine changed his name in his teens.
Medium: Radio
Program: As It Happens
Broadcast Date: Dec. 7, 1989
Guest(s): Elliott Leyton
Host: Michael Enright, Alan Maitland
Duration: 6:20

Last updated: November 25, 2014

Page consulted on November 25, 2014

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