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Police direct students away from the shooting scene at Dawson College in Montreal on Wednesday. ((Peter McCabe/Canadian Press))

A young woman was killed as a result of a shooting rampage at a Montreal college Wednesday.The suspected shooter, a 25-year-old Quebec man, died after a police confrontation.

The shooting at Dawson College also left 19 injured and many in emotional shock.

Police Chief Yvan Delorme told RDI television that awoman in her twenties had died.

Lieut. François Doré of Sûreté de Québec told CBC News the man was born in Quebec and lived in the Montreal area, but his identity is being withheld. An autopsy will be performed on him as soon as possible, he said.

Doré said the suspected shooter's car and residence would be part of the initial stages of the investigation, with police hoping to learn more about his history, andpossibly, an apparent motive.

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Police direct a running man to take cover during the shooting at Dawson College in downtown Montreal. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

"There is no racist connotation or no terrorist link as far as we know,"Delorme said.

Thegunman died minutes after he opened fire on the student body at Dawson, a CEGEP serving about 10,000 students near the storied Montreal Forum.

While it was reported earlier in the day that police fatally shot the man, Dorébacked off somewhat from that conclusion.

"We know that shots were fired, both by this man and the police," he said. "We know that he suffered multiple injuries and we will know during the autopsy, hopefully, what exactly are the shots or shot that killed him."

The Quebec provincial police are investigating the gunman's death, as is required by law for any fatal incident involving a police officer.

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A woman is taken from the shooting scene to a waiting ambulance. ((Paul Chiasson/ Canadian Press))

Montreal General Hospitalchief of clinicaloperations Ann Lynch said eight patients from the schoolwere in critical condition, with six requiring surgery.

"The nature of the injuries are all gunshot wounds to the abdomen, to the chest, one head injury and also several to the limbs, peripheral limbs, arms and legs," said Lynch.

The hospital said it would not issue a further statement on the victims' conditions until early Thursday.

Three other victimswere taken to Jean Talon Hospital andtwo others were transportedto the Jewish General Hospital.

The victims included women and men, officials said.

The suspect reportedly walked into Dawson College around 12:41 p.m. ET and began firing at students in the cafeteria. Police arrived three minutes later.

"They saw a suspect shooting inside the walls of Dawson," Delorme told a news conference. "So the first policeman took charge of the situation, and shot in the direction of the suspect, and the suspect died."

Television images showed police officers dragging a bloody body out of the main doors of the building, leaving a trail of blood on the street.

Earlier reports had said as many as three shooters walked into Dawson College. At one point, police had told local media outlets that two gunmen were dead and a thirdwas still atlarge.

Montreal police said they now believe only one suspect was involved in the shooting rampage that terrorized the college students and staff.

'I thought this was fake'

Students inside Dawson College told reporters they heard several shots in the building just after lunchtime.

Eyewitnesses say they saw a tall skinny man, wearing a black trench coat andsporting a Mohawk haircut, walk into the cafeteria carrying a large gun. He apparently fired several shots.

Student Michel Boyer sought shelter behind a reception desk after seeing a gunman and fleeing from the vicinity of the shootings.

"I thought this was fake, and it was just an excuse to get out of class," he told CBC Newsworld. "I did run away as soon as I did see that it was real."

His voice shaking, he added, "It was the most scary thing that has ever happened to me."

Boyer said he saw at least one man holding a gun.

"I'm only 19 and to have flashes of your life and the people that you love going by you, it should not be allowed."

Arielle Reid, an office co-ordinator in the Dawson College students' association,said she was in her office when the shooting began.

"I heard the shots and a student ran into my office,"theDawson College graduatetold CBC Newsworld. "People don't know what is going on and they don't know what to do."

Students flee building

Hundreds of students fled the building, and the area was cordoned off. Police officers wearing bulletproof vestskept people away from the college. People were seen running down the streets, crying and talking on their cellphones.

"They're telling me, 'Go the other way, lady, you're in the line of fire,'" said CBC News reporter Nancy Wood at the scene.

Hundreds of officerssurrounded the building in downtown Montreal, cordoningoff apark facing the school, as well asthe Alexis Nihon Plaza, a nearby shopping centre.

Police finished combing the college floor by floor and room by room to secure the building more thanthreehours after the first shots were heard.They set up a security perimeter that spanned Atwater, Sherbrooke and Maisonneuve streets.

Public transit officialstemporarily closed thesubway system's green line, which serves Dawson College, in order to allow a SWAT team to sweep the underground stations. They reopened the line three hours after the shooting, although the Atwater stop, which serves the college, remained closed Wednesday night.

Similarities to notorious Montreal shooting

The shooting raised chilling memories of Dec. 6, 1989, when 25-year-old Marc Lepine gunned down 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique before fatally shooting himself.

Lepine roamed the school for 45 minutes, shouting, "I hate feminists," as he opened fire on the female engineering students.

His use of a 30-round magazine brought immediate calls for gun control. In response, the federal government introduced a national firearms registry.

Dawson students sheltered nearby

During the Dawson College shootings, students and staffsoughtrefuge at nearby Concordia University.

The university'sstudent union is running an emergency centre at theD.B Clarke auditoriumat 1455de Maisonneuve St. W., where psychologists are on hand to assist Dawson students and staff.

Medical workers with a local CLSC health clinic are also at Concordia to provide advice and supportto people fleeing the shooting scene.

Students and staff will be in shock and will experience symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder,one worker told Radio-Canada's Frenchtelevision network. It's crucial that they talk about their experience and express theiremotions, she said Wednesday.

Family members of Dawson College students can call (514) 280-2880 or (514) 280-2806 for more information, police said.