A teenager charged in connection with the shooting deaths of four people in La Loche, Sask., on Friday made his first court appearance in Meadow Lake provincial court Monday afternoon.

The 17-year-old has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. He also faces one count of unauthorized possession of a firearm. Of the four dead, two brothers were found dead at a home and two staff were found dead at the community school. 

Before the teen appeared, the courtroom filled with about 40 people from La Loche, including the mother of the accused. The room was silent as the accused entered the courtroom.

He appeared briefly at 1 p.m. CST, scanning the faces in the gallery, then stared at the floor as the hearing continued.

The judge ordered him to have no contact with a list of individuals. The teen softly replied that he understood.

The youth was remanded in custody until next month. His next court appearance is Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m. CST. 

Bob Merasty, vice-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, was in the courtroom and spoke to reporters outside the courthouse. 

"We're all saddened by this," he said. "This could be any community."

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang spoke on the magnitude of the charges in court.

"It's obviously an incredibly, enormously tragic incident for the community of La Loche," he said. "It's the seriousness of the incident that calls out for what are the appropriate charges."

Saskatoon defence lawyer Ian Mokuruk told CBC News he spoke to the youth by phone before the court appearance.

"He's hanging in there," Mokuruk said. "I need to talk to him more."

The defence did not ask the judge for a psychiatric assessment.

The suspect's name can't be published under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Meadow Lake is about 350 kilometres south of La Loche and about 290 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

The four killed have been identified as:

  • Marie Janvier, 21, a teacher's assistant.
  • Adam Wood, 35, a teacher.
  • Brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, aged 17 and 13, respectively.

Seven other victims who were wounded were taken to Saskatoon for further care. The judge has banned identifying the surviving victims.