The teen shot and killed by police following three fatal stabbings in a northern Quebec community on the weekend was dealing with a number of tragic events from his past, including the slaying of his mother and the suicide of his brother.

Illutak Anautak, 19, who was described by friends and family as quiet young man with an easy smile, was identified by local officials as the man shot dead by police in the Inuit village of Akulivik after three break-ins during which five people were stabbed early Saturday morning.

The dead were identified as Anautak's uncle, Lucassie Anautak, a cousin who was about 10 years old, and Eli Qinuajuak, his aunt's partner, three local officials confirmed to CBC News.

Two others were taken to hospital with injuries. Investigators said Sunday evening that they are no longer listed as being in critical condition.

Anautak's mother was killed by her boyfriend in 2014, friends say, while an older brother took his own life eight or nine years ago.

Randy McLeod, Anautak's former teacher at the local school, described Anautak as a "very nice, extremely respectful" student. In 2011, Anautak was among a group of students who joined McLeod on an educational trip to Montreal


Illutak Anautak, 19, played goalie and was a volunteer hockey coach. (Illutak Anautak/Facebook)

At the same time, McLeod said, the young man was "dealing with a lot of personal things and perhaps there wasn't any support."

"He was dealing with a lot of trauma; I guess that maybe was too much," said McLeod, who is on leave from his position at the school.

"I don't know what the trigger was, what created the situation. Obviously I wasn't there."

McLeod worries that even if Anautak had sought help, the mental health resources wouldn't have been available.

"You need that kind of thing to be available to you in those moments, not, 'Ok, we'll get a counsellor flown here in a couple weeks to speak in another language,'" he said.

'Always smiling'

Despite his troubles, though, friends say Anautak rarely showed signs of anger.  

Rebecca Tukalak

Rebecca Tukalak, left, says Illutak Anautak was 'always smiling and a funny guy.' (Rebecca Tukalak/Submitted)

He was passionate about hockey — he played goalie and volunteered as a coach in the community — and posted photos on his Facebook page in appreciation of his hometown. 

In a post accompanying a photo just last month, he wrote, "Akulivik always the best!"

He had three younger siblings and was "like a father to them," said Rebecca Tukalak, one of his closest friends.

He was "just always smiling and a funny guy," she said in an interview on Facebook messenger, adding that he never showed signs of aggression.

Struggling with mother's death

Still, Anautuk struggled to cope with the death of his mother.  

He was known in Akulivik, a village of about 600, as a "quiet person," said his uncle and a local councillor, Eli Aullaluk.

"This is not normal. I feel sorry for all the people in this community. Our prayers go them all," he said.


Part of the tragedy unfolded at this home, on the outskirts of town. Neighbours say they're still grappling with the losses. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

In 2015, in a rare display of emotion on social media, Anautuk wrote, "I finally get it mom, I miss you so much."

Tukalak, who lives in Puvirnituq, a remote community further south, said she last saw Anautuk in May, and he didn't seem like himself. 

"He was really weird and was talking really low. I think that was a goodbye," she said. 

Her takeaway, she said, is that even the "most nice and quiet people explode one day, so it is really important to express truest feelings."

With files from Simon Nakonechny