Saskatchewan

La Loche, Sask., shootings: Male, 17, charged with 4 counts of 1st-degree murder

Teachers Marie Janvier and Adam Wood, and brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine were killed in Friday's shooting

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Police investigate the scene at the school in La Loche, Sask., on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Four people were killed in shootings in the community Friday. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

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The small, tight-knit community of La Loche in northern Saskatchewan is "shattered" after shootings Friday left four people dead, including two teachers and two brothers, and another seven injured.

"The whole of La Loche is shaken. Every individual in La Loche has been wounded by this event," said Kevin Janvier, the community's acting mayor. "These emotional and mental wounds ... will take years to heal."

A 17-year-old male suspect has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. The suspect will make a court appearance next week. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Marie Janvier, Adam Wood

Marie Janvier and Adam Wood are two victims of the Jan. 22 shooting in La Loche, Sask., that left four people dead. (Facebook/handout )

He has also been charged with one count of unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The victims have been identified as two teachers, Marie Janvier, 21, and Adam Wood, 35, and brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, aged 17 and 13 respectively.

The member of Parliament for the region, Georgina Jolibois, is from La Loche.

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A family pays their respects on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 to the victims of the shooting in La Loche, Sask. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

"As a Dene community, we've been through some horrific incidents and … we're very resilient. We come together and heal," she said at a news conference Saturday.

CBC Forum on La Loche

"This is a wound in the heart of Canada, we are one family and when one is killed or wounded we all feel pain." — a comment from Anne Ashford-Hall on our CBC Forum chat on La Loche. Read the full discussion here.

La Loche is a Dene community nestled on the shores of Lac La Loche with a population of about 3,000.

The community has struggled with the highest suicide rate in the province, and has a rate that is three times the national average.

Don Herman, who lives in the community, said they have lost many teenagers.

"Compared to 10 years ago, it wasn't like that. Now we barely have room at the graveyard because of suicide, tragedies like this," he said.

Kevin Janvier

Kevin Janvier, the acting mayor of La Loche, Sask., said, "my heart was shattered, the community was shattered," when he heard the news about the shootings. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

Premier sends aid

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said officers from several RCMP detachments in the province, as well as from Alberta and Manitoba, have been deployed to the community. Wall added that four victim service workers are now in La Loche, and more are on standby to travel to the community if they are needed. 

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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, left, and RCMP Commanding Officer Brenda Butterworth-Carr spoke at a news conference in Regina on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Wall said extra RCMP officers are headed to La Loche, and there are already four victim services workers in the community to help. (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)

Wall will travel to La Loche on Sunday, along with Ralph Goodale, the federal public safety minister, and Perry Bellegarde, the Assembly of First Nations chief, along with several other ministers.

Witnesses describe chaos at school

Earlier Saturday, witnesses described Friday's chaotic scene.

"It was an average day that went horribly wrong," said Darius Piche, 17, a student at the school.

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Witnesses say a shooter approached the La Loche Community School, firing shots both outside and inside the building. (Canadian Press)

Piche said he knew the gunman and saw him enter the building looking "a little stressed." When he went up to ask him what was wrong, Piche said, the suspect ignored him and walked back outside, grabbing a gun from his vehicle.

"I ran back inside, I told everyone to 'Run, he has a gun,'" Piche said. "While the lockdown was happening, you could just hear all these gunshots getting closer, [then] getting distant."

Piche called the experience traumatizing. "It's just a little messed up for me to think … a guy I grew up with could do all this kind of thing," he said.

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Don Herman, an uncle of two of the victims, holds a rosary as police investigate the shooting scene at the La Loche Community School on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Suspect 'a silent guy'

Jackson Janvier, 15, was also at the school at the time of the shooting. He said he saw the shooter enter the school and shoot one person.

"Right when he walked in he took that shot, no second thoughts — he just shot him. Then I started running. I heard like five more shots before I got out of the school," he said.

Jackson said he told people to run, telling them there was a person with a gun.

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La Loche is a Dene community of about 3,000 in Saskatchewan's north. (CBC)

"I'm guessing people didn't want to believe me so they stood there. I told a lot of people to run. Only two [listened]: my brother and one teacher," he said.

He described the suspect as "a silent guy."

"You barely see him around. He went for school or would go for bike rides with us at times. He was just a silent quiet guy. He doesn't talk about anything. He just sits there or walks around with us."

Kaleisha Janvier remembers her cousin, Marie 1:13

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The shootings took place at two locations: La Loche Community School and this nearby home. Two victims were killed at each scene. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Community comes together for vigils

More than 100 community members came together late Friday to hold vigils outside the school and at a local church. By Saturday morning, many of the larger candles that had been lit were still flickering.

Jolibois, said the community is in "shock." Jolibois grew up in La Loche and served as mayor before running for a seat in Ottawa.

"La Loche, being such a small community, everyone knows each other. We grew up together — we're friends, we're families. We were all in shock," she told CBC News.

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RCMP said a male suspect was apprehended at 1:47 p.m. CST Friday, outside the school. (Canadian Press)

Police tape remained across the front entrance to the school. RCMP officers have arrived from across the province, an officer told CBC.

Also Saturday, Canadian tennis superstar Milos Raonic, competing at the Australian Open, dedicated his game victory to the people of La Loche.

"It was a difficult day back home ... I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community, the families, the students and the school affected. Today's victory was for that community and a quick recovery. All of Canada and I'm sure the world is behind you."

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