Montreal

Richard Bain's guilty verdict 'doesn't take away the pain' for survivor Dave Courage

Dave Courage survived the midnight shooting outside Montreal's Metropolis concert hall, but his friend did not. Ever since that night he's been waiting for an answer, and now he finally has one.

Parti Québécois shooter found guilty of 2nd-degree murder for death of stagehand Denis Blanchette

Dave Courage speaks out after Richard Bain is found guilty of second-degree murder for the 2012 Quebec election-night shooting. 1:21

This article was originally published Aug. 24. We are re-publishing it today to mark the anniversary of the shooting outside the Metropolis concert hall. 


Dave Courage survived the midnight shooting outside Montreal's Metropolis concert hall in 2012, but his friend did not, and no verdict will change that. 

"It doesn't take away the pain," Courage told CBC News just hours after a jury found Richard Bain guilty of second-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. 

For Courage, it's been almost four years of waiting and wondering if his shooter would be found guilty, or would be allowed to walk free. 

"I've been subconsciously waiting. It's been haunting me enormously ever since," Courage told CBC News in a sit-down interview the morning after the verdict. 

"It's been a long four years. It's been very long."

Courage says it's only half over now. He's still waiting to see what kind of sentence Bain gets for his crimes.

"He could be out in six [years]. I won't be happy. If he's in there for 25 years with a lot of help, super. He can come out when he's 86."

Courage wants his shooter — the man who murdered his friend — to be in prison for life. But he also wants Bain to get the psychological help and support he needs. 

"If we could take care of everyone's needs better, maybe things like that wouldn't have happened. But it's too late to think like that."

"Now that I know his verdict, I wouldn't say it's closure, but it's good to know that he's guilty and that the justice system did their job," Dave Courage says the morning after Richard Bain was found guilty. (Charles Contant/CBC News)

Courage was one of roughly a dozen stagehands who were standing outside the back door of the Metropolis just before midnight on Sept. 4, 2012.

The group was waiting for newly elected premier Pauline Marois to finish her election-night victory speech, so they could go inside and take down the set.

While they waited, some of them chatting and smoking, Bain approached in a bathrobe and a ski mask, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.

He let off a single shot — a military grade bullet with a steel core — that pierced Denis Blanchette's chest, killing him, and then pierced Courage's hip, shattering his tailbone. 

"Everything really freaking hurts," Courage says. 

He's still in constant physical pain. It hurts to stand, to sit, to do basically anything.

"It really sucks."

Dave Courage has a message for his shooter

Dave Courage spoke to CBC's Jaela Bernstien the morning after his shooter was found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder (Charles Contant/CBC)

When asked if he had any words for his shooter, Courage said this: 

"You didn't have to do what you did. You did what you did. Now it's done. So live with the consequences."

"Hopefully one day he apologizes sincerely. Not just for killing Denis, not just for shooting me, but apologizing for causing the disturbance that he did."

Courage referred to Bain's now infamous words, which he yelled out moments after the shooting "The English are waking up."

"He didn't wake anybody up … he set us back about 10 years," Courage says, adding that he believes Quebecers and Montrealers won't allow themselves to be divided like that.

"People will realize that it's a love and let love society … Hopefully people get it.

Diane Blanchette, sister of murdered stagehand Denis Blanchette, and fellow stagehand Gael Ghiringhelli, are seen at the courthouse following the verdict at the trial of Richard Bain in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Tears, but no words

Diane Blanchette, the sister of the man Bain killed, spent the last weeks of her summer dutifully reporting to court every morning, sitting patiently in the silent courtroom and waiting.

For 10 days in a row, she went home without an answer, but on the 11th day the jury finally delivered its verdict. 

While Diane shied away from speaking to the media, her face showed a mixture of relief and pain.

As the courtroom emptied, Diane reached over and hugged her brother's friend Gael Ghiringhelli, and she allowed herself to cry in the courtroom for the first time.

Later, outside the courtroom, Ghiringhelli spoke on behalf of the group of stagehands who were there on the deadly night.

"It's been almost four years … four years of waiting for answers, four years of waiting to know what happened, four years of suffering," he said.

"Today a page is turned. Denis can rest in peace ... I'm thinking of Dave as well."

Ghiringhelli also had a message for Quebecers at large.

"I hope, above all, that it will quiet certain animosities between people who don't understand one another — from different backgrounds, from different ways of thinking, different cultures," he said. 

About the Author

Jaela Bernstien is a national reporter based in Montreal. She's covered a wide range of news topics, ranging from criminal trials to ice age caves, and everything in between.