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Quebec Election Shooting Survivor Recalls Night's Event

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PQ SHOOTING
Police and fireman work at the rear of an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the PQ victory rally Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Montreal. A civic funeral is scheduled Monday in Montreal for the man who died in a shooting at a party celebrating the Parti Quebecois election victory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson | CP

Dave Courage, the man who survived being shot at the Sept. 4 Parti Québécois victory rally, said he only thought about his children after being struck by a bullet.

The 27-year-old stage technician arrived at the Metropolis theatre around 11:30 p.m. to help dismantle the set used by the PQ. Courage said that just minutes before he planned to go inside to work, a man opened fire and then set the doorway on fire.

"I thought I was dead and that I was going to burn alive and never see my son, or my partner's son or my unborn baby. That's all I thought was the kids, it gave me a sort of calm. I could see them. All I wanted was to see them and I didn't want it to be the last time I thought of them," said Courage.

Courage and a coworker were hit by the same bullet while standing at the back entrance of the Metropolis theatre in downtown Montreal, while Pauline Marois was inside giving her victory speech.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette, 48, died after being shot.

"I didn't even see my friend get hit," said Courage. "The bullet that entered my hip travelled through his chest first. I didn't even see him go down. I just heard a big 'bang' and wondered what it was, but didn't have the time to think much of it. I just felt pain."

Courage was taken to a safer spot after the door was set ablaze.

He has been primarily bed-bound due to pain in his legs and lower back.

The bullet pierced through his right leg between the buttocks and hip, tore out a part of his tailbone and injured his rectum.

"I'm taking it day by day," he said. "The pain comes and goes, the medication, the family. I'm just happy to be alive more than anything."

Doctors told Courage he may have required a hip replacement if the bullet had hit the hipbone.

Courage said did not see anyone come up to the door before hearing the gunshot.

Even though the back door at the venue was open, security officers were present both outdoors and indoors.

Courage said the back door is the spot most commonly used as a smoking area for staff and celebrities performing at the Metropolis and that security is often present by the door.

Courage is expected to undergo a third surgery in 2½ months.

"It's surreal. Sometimes, it doesn't really feel like it happened. It feels more like it was a dream or something you see on TV. I still can't believe it happened and I can't believe I'm still here to talk about it 'cause it could have been much worse," he said.

The victim said he is "grateful" because his injuries could have been worse.

Courage said he is considering a civil suit against the shooter for damages.

He said many questions remain unanswered for him, including the shooter's motives on the night of Sept. 4.

Richard Henry Bain, 62, a Mont Tremblant-area businessman, has been charged with 16 offences related to the shooting, including first-degree murder and attempted murder.

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