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Creator pulls Dawson shooting rampage game off the Internet for victim's family

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MONTREAL - An online video game where players pretended to be the gunman behind the 2006 shooting rampage at Montreal's Dawson College was removed from the Internet by its creator.

The game's developer, known online as Virtuaman, said he decided to remove the game on Friday because of the hurt it has caused the family of the only person to die in the attack.

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Last Wednesday, Virtuaman said he didn't foresee the game being taken down and police said there was nothing they could do because the game didn't break any laws.

But that was before word got back to the Ontario-based game developer that Anastasia De Sousa's mother was distraught by the game's existence.

De Sousa, 18, was killed and 19 others were wounded when Kimveer Gill opened fire at the downtown college and later killed himself.

"To be honest I didn't care what anyone thought of my game till I heard her mother was upset over it. I will remove it for her," Virtuaman wrote on Friday.

"I just want to say sorry to the victims (sic) family, I hope you can move on and put this behind yourselves."

The free game entitled "Dawson College Massacre!" appeared online just five days before the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 13, 2006 shootings.

The game's aim was to "storm Dawson College with your favourite rifle, and kill those students and kill any cops you can." The introduction to the game used photos of Gill and diary entries from his online journals.

Players manoeuvre a shooter through a layout that resembles the atrium at Dawson College.

The game created an online tsunami of complaints as the population and many former Dawson students — some who lived through the rampage — expressed outrage that someone could be so insensitive.

Virtuaman initially dismissed the backlash and said he was even surprised by it.

But he apologized in his posting to De Sousa's family for any hurt he may have caused them.

"After thinking this over for a while I feel that the existence of the game is hurting a family that doesn't deserve it," he wrote.

"I hope in removing the game from the net I help them get over the game and the pain it has caused them."

Virtuaman had defended the game by saying it was a way of drawing attention to school shootings.

"I never stopped to think that it could really hurt someone out there," he said.

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