Monday June 12, 2017

Akulivik woman remembers 'nice little boy' slain in Saturday night stabbings

A child plays outside in front of the local municipal office in the Inuit village of Akulivikwhere the flags are at half mast after four people were killed in a night of violence.

A child plays outside in front of the local municipal office in the Inuit village of Akulivikwhere the flags are at half mast after four people were killed in a night of violence. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

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Niali Aliqu remembers the young boy who was stabbed to death Saturday in Akulivik, Que., as a sweet child who would sometimes come to her home with his family looking for coffee or some other staple they were in need of. 

"He was a nice little boy," the 69-year-old woman told As It Happens host Carol Off. "He was always saying thank you when he came in."

She said she always gave them what was asked, because that's what neighbours do.

Putulik Anautak, just 12 years old, was among five family members who were stabbed Saturday night in the small northern Quebec town. The boy and two men, Lucassie Anautak and Eli Qinuajuak, have died from their wounds, while two women remain in hospital. 

Illutak Anautak, 19, a close relative of the boy's, is the only suspect. He was shot and killed by police. 

Illutak Anautak

Illutak Anautak, 19, is believed to have stabbed five members of his own family before police shot and killed him on Saturday. (Illutak Anautak/Facebook)

Aliqu, the victims' cousin and neighbour, was awoken by the sound of screaming early Saturday morning.

By the time she saw what was happening, she said Putulik had already been killed. There was blood on the ground where his body had been.

"A little boy tried to get help and ran and collapsed, and I saw his blood and I cannot get it out of my mind, no matter how I try," she said.

She saw another of the victims, Anautak's aunt, covered in blood on a four-wheeler, being driven to the local health centre. The woman and her daughter, who was also stab, were both flown to hospital, where they remain. 

And then she witnessed the deadly confrontation between Anautak and police a few doors down.

"I saw people running around and I saw the police aiming at a person," she said. 

Akulivik

The community of Akulivik is reeling, but nearby neighbours are coming to offer support, says one local woman. (Google)

The tight-knit community of under 600 people is now reeling from the aftermath of the violence, and many are left wondering what would prompt a young man to harm his own family.

Friends and relatives have described  Anautak as a kind and cheerful man who showed no outward signs of anger or distress. Aliqu called him a "gentle young man" and "a nice person."

However, his past was riddled with tragedy. His mother was killed by her boyfriend in 2014, friends say, while his older brother took his own life eight or nine years ago.

Now, Aliqu said, the town is focused on healing.

"The relatives of the victims' family have been arriving from other communities and other friends and families have been coming to  Akulivik to give support," she said.

"We're going to get help."