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."
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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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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."