Guillaume Parisien touches his right shoulder during his testimony. Even today, he feels pain. This is where his friend Denis Blanchette fell on him after being killed by Richard Henry Bain. Panic attacks, nightmares, alcoholism: the survivor of the Metropolis attack still lives a nightmare.
“I could have done a lot more for Denis. I could have at least beaten him [Bain]… The fact of having done nothing makes me feel really, really sad forever,” Guillaume Parisien testified Tuesday at the trial of Metropolis survivors at the Montreal courthouse.
Like many of his colleagues, the stage technician was close to death on the evening of September 4, 2012 at the Metropolis. He is claiming, along with three other survivors, $600,000 from the Sûreté du Québec and the Montreal Police Department for the lack of security during the event marking the election of the Parti Québécois.
On the witness stand, Guillaume Parisien gesticulates and plays nervously with a pencil. Verbomotor, he multiplies the jokes with a language full of swear words. But when it comes to the attack and his suffering, he becomes a man of few words.
“Everything was fine…I hear a [bruit d’explosion], Denis’ backpack bursts open. There is a fire. Denis falls on me, he falls to the ground. Oh shit! A dude dressed a bit like a madman, in a dressing gown and balaclava with a big fucking gun! He almost killed me, ”says Guillaume Parisien in a nutshell.
“I let him down [Denis] and I run… It’s absolute terror,” he says.
At that time, Guillaume Parisien knew that Denis Blanchette was dead. But still today, he regrets having left him to his fate.
Guillaume Parisien does not digest either the total absence of security at the back of the Métropolis. “There were so few police that we could have smoked a bong on a car,” he exclaims in cross-examination.
Yet it would have been so easy to “secure” the two entrances to the building. “There is the front and the back. It’s so ridiculous! There is even more security in the fucking cinema! “, he protests.
“When Your Heart Will Explode”
It was only in 2015, by consulting an expert, that Guillaume Parisien realized that his sufferings were perhaps linked to the Metropolis. “I was very surprised,” he says. In interrogation, his lawyer must insist that he succeed in putting words to his suffering.
“I used to piss off a lot of people…When your heart is going to explode…A lot of very negative, stressful…and violent emotions,” he tries to describe.
“It caused me a lot of stress, frustration, palpitations… I often get drunk to calm my nerves. I don’t like to talk about it…”, he continues.
Every week for 10 years, he suffers from a panic attack, he finally adds. He also has nightmares so violent that he can’t breathe when he wakes up.
Since the attack, Guillaume Parisien has “multiplied exponentially” his consumption of alcohol and drugs. He also admitted to taking cocaine before and during his out-of-court interrogation in 2018.
His story is similar to that of the three other plaintiffs, Audrey Dulong-Bérubé, Jonathan Dubé and Gaël Ghiringelli. Since the start of the trial last week, all four have recounted living through hell since the Metropolis attack. All four maintain that there was no police presence when Richard Henry Bain opened fire.
The trial continues all week before Judge Philippe Bélanger. Mare Virginie Dufresne-Lemire and Justin Wee represent the plaintiffs.