No arrests as police lift lockdown at CEGEP north of Montreal

Students and staff were confined at Collège Lionel-Groulx for four hours after police received a call about a “possibly armed individual.”

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A police operation into a possible active shooter that led to a four-hour lockdown of the Collège Lionel-Groulx, north of Montreal, on Friday has ended.

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“The premises and the people inside have been secured,” the Régie de Police Thérèse-De Blainville said in a statement. The lockdown was lifted at 6 pm and by 8:30 pm the evacuation of the school had been completed.

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“No criminal act has been committed at the Collège Lionel-Groulx in the last few hours. There were no injuries or arrests.”

Police responded to a call that came in at 1:35 p.m. about “the presence of a possibly armed individual.”

More than a dozen police cars were dispatched to the school, and officers swept the sprawling site for hours looking for a possible gunman.

Located in Ste-Thérèse, north of Laval, CEGEP has about 6,000 students.

It is unclear how many people were at the school during the lockdown. At 4:30 p.m., police said there were only about 100 people inside.

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Police Chief Inspector Luc Larocque said the force hopes the public can help identify a person seen in a video circulating on social media. The video shows a man in a white hat walking down a street holding a long object.

Police look in a doorway outside the Collége Lionel-Groulx in Ste-Thérèse, north of Montreal, on Friday, November 18, 2022, following reports of a suspicious individual outside CEGEP.
Police look in a doorway outside the Collége Lionel-Groulx in Ste-Thérèse, north of Montreal, on Friday, November 18, 2022, following reports of a suspicious individual outside CEGEP. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette

Anyone with information is asked to call 450-435-2421, extension zero. Police said the information will be treated anonymously and confidentially.

At approximately 2:15 p.m., the school announced on its Facebook page that “everyone present at the school is to confine themselves within the premises until further notice.

“If you are on the grounds outside the university, you must leave immediately. Classes are suspended for the rest of the day. Potential active shooter.

The university said it was closed as a “preventive measure” after it was reported that a “suspicious individual” had been seen outside the institution.

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Several parents took to the CEGEP Facebook page to say that they had been in contact with their children at school.

“My daughter is inside and she is having a panic attack,” said one woman.

Police said psychological help was being offered to students and staff at the Thérèse de Blainville Cultural and Community Center in 120 du Seminaire Blvd..

Public Safety Minister François Bonnardel said his office monitored the situation during the afternoon.

“I am very happy to know that everything went well and that there are no injuries,” he said via Twitter. “Thank you to the police officers of the Régie de Police Thérèse-De Blainville and to all the police forces who came to lend a hand.”

This is the third time in a week that police have responded to an incident at a CEGEP in Quebec.

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Last Friday, a 19-year-old man wearing a bulletproof vest was arrested and a girl under the age of 18 was questioned as a “person of interest” after CEGEP St-Jean-sur-Richelieu was ordered closed.

On the same day, the Collège Montmorency in Laval was closed after three people were shot in a park near the school. Some of the victims sought refuge inside the CEGEP, which caused panic among the students inside.

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