The crime reporter who survived an assassination attempt
Journalist Michel Auger was shot six times on Sept. 13, 2000 ... and lived
Even for a veteran crime reporter, it was a scary story — especially when it left him en route to hospital and his desk cordoned off with police tape.
On the morning of Sept. 13, 2000, Michel Auger was ambushed in a parking lot outside the offices of Le Journal de Montréal.
He was shot six times in the back by a shooter who fled the scene. Auger used his own cellphone to call 911.
Police found a gun, a silencer and a stolen car two blocks from the scene of the shooting. The same vehicle had been seen in the parking lot when Auger was hit.
In hospital, he was guarded by police — and his exact whereabouts were kept secret for security reasons.
The attack came just a day after the paper published a story Auger had written, which analyzed a spate of killings involving members of organized crime.
Twenty police officers were involved in the investigation into the shooting, according to CBC's The National. Investigators viewed the attack as an attempted murder.
"It wasn't a message being sent, a threat being sent, an intimidation — they wanted to kill Mr. Auger," said Montreal police Commander André Boucher.
'It's not like being a political reporter'
During his three decades as a crime reporter, Auger had dealt with threats in the past and knew the risks involved with his work.
"It's not a question of being afraid, but it's not like being a political reporter," Auger said, when speaking in French with a reporter the day before he was shot.
The incident marked at least the third time a crime reporter had been shot in Quebec — with prior incidents seeing a reporter shot in the legs in 1995 and another reporter was shot inside a newspaper office in 1973.
Not what he'd expected
Two months after Auger was shot, he agreed to speak to the CBC's Lynda Calvert about the attack. He said he never thought his work would put him at risk of death.
"I always thought that there was a possibility — a vague possibility — of violence," said Auger, who admitted to feeling surprised to survive the attack.
Auger would return to work as a reporter and later retired from his job at the newspaper in 2006.
A man who provided the weapon used to shoot Auger would serve time in jail. But as of the time of Auger's retirement, the person who shot him had not yet been brought to justice.