Saskatoon

'Don't shoot me': Complete chilling account of La Loche mass shooting now public

On Jan. 22, 2016, a teen began a shooting spree in the small northern Saskatchewan town of La Loche that left four people dead and seven wounded. The Supreme Court has decided it won't hear the shooter's appeal of his adult sentence, so CBC News can identify the shooter and report some chilling details for the first time.

Warning: This story contains graphic details

Randan Dakota Fontaine is led out of court in La Loche, Sask. on Friday, Feb.23, 2018 after a provincial court judge decided that he would be sentenced as an adult in the 2016 shooting spree that left four people dead and seven others wounded in La Loche. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided it won't hear the shooter's appeal of his adult sentence, which means a publication ban on certain details of the case is no longer in effect. CBC News can name the shooter and his relationship with two of his victims — his cousins  for the first time.

At one minute after 1 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2016, a teenager in La Loche, Sask., wrote a text message to a group of friends.

That message began: "im done with life."

Randan Fontaine, then 17, had just murdered his two cousins. He was about to kill more people.

A friend replied to that initial message by writing: "Why?"

More than four years after the shooting, that question still hangs in the air.

During police interviews and in a statement he read in court, Fontaine has given no rationale for why he killed four people or shot up his school.  

The only hint at a motive was that the teen felt he was "hated at school." Fontaine repeatedly denied that he was bullied.

Fontaine was 15 days shy of his 18th birthday when he walked into the Dene Building of the La Loche Community School with a shotgun and opened fire. By the time the carnage was over, two people in that school were dead — teacher Adam Wood, 35, and teacher's assistant Marie Janvier, 21 — and seven more were wounded.

The four people killed by the teenaged shooter on Jan. 22, 2016, in La Loche were, clockwise from top left: Marie Janvier, 21; Adam Wood, 35; Drayden Fontaine, 13 and Dayne Fontaine, 17. (Submitted to CBC/Facebook)

The teenager didn't know most of their names.

Police would later discover Fontaine had shot and killed his cousins, Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, 13 and 17, at their family home minutes before. The three boys had been raised together like brothers.

Fontaine, now 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder in October 2016 in provincial court in Meadow Lake.

Randan Dakota Fontaine is led out of court in La Loche, Sask. on Friday, Feb.23, 2018. The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal from Fontaine, who was sentenced as an adult in a mass shooting at a northern Saskatchewan school. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Judge Janet McIvor​ told a La Loche courtroom that "for the most part he appeared unaffected" by victim impact statements and would be sentenced as an adult

Fontaine's defence lawyer tried to appeal the adult sentence in Canada's highest court, arguing that the sentencing judge put too much emphasis on the severity of the crime and didn't fully consider Fontaine's cognitive deficits, mental health issues and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to grant Fontaine leave to appeal.

No warning signs

Fontaine was informally adopted by his aunt shortly after birth. His first language is Dene, and he grew up across the street from his grandparents and cousins, Dayne and Drayden, in La Loche. He was close with his grandfather, who would take him hunting, fishing, and camping.

His family and friends called him "Ears," an affectionate nickname, he would later tell police, because of his large ears.

Fontaine had struggled in school, but teachers described him as a "quiet person." He had no criminal record or history of violence, according to court records and testimony at his three-week sentencing hearing.

Fontaine spent his spare time smoking marijuana and playing video games.

Teachers, friends and family say they never could have imagined Fontaine would soon be responsible for a mass shooting that forever changed his small, remote town nearly 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Four months earlier, the teen started Grade 10 for the third time. A psychologist hired by the defence tested Fontaine's IQ and testified that it's so low, only two per cent of people his age would score lower.

I was in shock like everyone else. I never knew this was going to happen.- Fontaine's mother

While Fontaine and a friend were eating lunch in the school canteen, he reportedly told the friend: "If you were told one day or if someone came into the school and shot it up and they told you it was me, would you believe it?"

This friend didn't believe the comment was anything serious.

A shooting rampage at a home and a school in La Loche, Sask., in 2016 left four people dead and seven injured. (Jason Warick/CBC)

Fontaine's mother told court that she wishes she'd seen the signs and said she and her family are often undeservedly blamed for the shooting.

"I was in shock like everyone else. I never knew this was going to happen."

Internet research

But the hints were there for months, Crown prosecutors say.

Two weeks before the shooting, Fontaine began searching the internet on his iPhone for information about ammunition.

Three days before the shooting, he used his cellphone to take a two-second video of a .22-calibre rifle and shotgun lying on a bed.

A day before the shooting, he finished school, smoked pot and in the early evening looked up "school shootings in Canada."

That night, he took out his iPad and looked up "what does it feel like the kill someone." On Reddit, he searched "what does it feel like to take someone's life."

Then the searches got more specific: "Killing a family member." He looked up "familicide" and "fratricide" on Wikipedia.  

He then went to sleep.

The next morning, Fontaine woke up and attended classes at the high school.

A memorial outside La Loche Community School after the shooting. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

At school, he used his cellphone to search the names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold — the shooters in the 1999 Columbine school massacre that left 15 dead and 24 injured. He talked with his teacher about his poor grades.

Home for lunch

He went home, ate lunch quickly, grabbed a box of ammunition from his bedroom and walked across the street to his grandparents' house, where his cousin, Dayne, was alone. The house was like a second home to Fontaine.

He went into Dayne's bedroom and grabbed a .22-calibre rifle. He called Dayne to "come here." 

Dayne came down the stairs and asked the teen: "What are you doing?" When Fontaine raised the rifle, Dayne said: "Don't shoot me."

Fontaine ignored the plea and fired one shot. Dayne screamed and was shot in the back as he tried to flee. Dayne was lying bleeding on the kitchen floor when he begged for his life one last time. Fontaine shot and killed him. In total, he shot Dayne 11 times, court documents show.

After killing Dayne, he went downstairs and found a shotgun, the gun he would later use to kill and wound people at the school.

Fontaine grabbed a set of truck keys and left the house, shotgun in hand. He saw 13-year-old Drayden, Dayne's brother, running toward him as he was getting into the truck.

'Not part of the plan'

He told Drayden to follow him into the house. There he shot the boy twice — once in the face and once in the head.

The shooter later told police killing the two brothers "was not part of the plan." Shooting up the school, Crown prosecutors say, was.

When questioned later by police about what his plans were that day, Fontaine said: "Go to school and shoot the f--king kids."

Crown prosecutors say he carried out that plan "with stark efficiency."

After killing the two brothers, Fontaine went back outside and got into the truck. At this point, he took time to send text messages using the Facebook Messenger app.

In the group chat with friends, he wrote: "sup. im done with life."

Someone named Darius wrote: "why." Fontaine responded that he had "just killed two ppl" and was about to shoot up the school.

Just after 1 p.m. CST, he pulled the truck into the school parking lot.

Ammunition in his pockets

The teen walked into the school, first without a gun, looked around the common area and left.

He grabbed the shotgun from the truck, stuffed ammunition in his pockets and re-entered the school where 150 students and teachers were going about their normal day, court documents show.

When students first saw the gun, they started to run from Fontaine.

The teen fired at least three shots as he went in the main entrance. Some shotgun pellets hit a young football star in the chest. He survived, but is no longer able to play football. He barely goes to school, court heard during the sentencing hearing.

Fontaine shot another student in the chest and right arm and a third in the stomach and left calf.

Victim Phyllis Longobardi is greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the shooting. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Teacher Adam Wood went to the school's office and called 911.

Assistant principal Phyllis Longobardi was in the hall when the shooting began. She told The Canadian Press she remembered hearing two blasts before she saw the gun.

Staring down the shotgun barrel

At first, she said, she thought she was going to have to break up a fight. But as the teen took aim, she had the terrifying realization the gun and the gunshots were real.

Longobardi remembers locking eyes with Fontaine, staring down the barrel of the shotgun. She thought about running, she said, but decided to stay put to give the others a chance to run.

The first shot missed, but the second struck her in the right forearm and wrist.

Longobardi ran into a classroom and closed the door. She saw six students in that classroom, terrified. She, too, called police.

After turning from Longobardi, the teen fired at another student through the main entrance doorway. She was hit by shattering glass and shotgun pellets on her left side.

Fontaine went to the main office, where he found Wood. He shot the teacher once in the stomach at close range. After Wood fell to the floor, the shooter took aim again. The second shot was fatal, according to an autopsy report.

Fontaine said he didn't know Wood, who was relatively new to the school, court documents show. During his sentencing hearing, his constant refrain was that his victims, including Wood, were "not targets."

Stalking the hallways

After leaving Wood bleeding on the office floor, Fontaine stalked the hallways, checking doors and looking through windows.

He fired into one classroom, hitting substitute teacher Charlene Klyne, who was sitting at her desk.

Shooting victim Charlene Klyne says she has since faced multiple medical complications including loss of sight. (Don Somers/CBC)

Teacher's aide Marie Janvier rushed to help Klyne and was shot in the neck and chest. She died of her wounds.

After shooting Janvier, the teen continued walking the hallways, gun in hand.

The teen's final victim was teacher Christie Montgrand, who was shot in the back in her classroom. She survived.

Fontaine went back to the common area, where he fired one last shot into a display case, shattering glass.

By this point, RCMP Const. Dustin Freeman of the La Loche detachment entered the school, gun drawn.

RCMP Const. Dustin Freeman entered the school with his gun drawn. (Don Somers/CBC)

Fontaine had run into the women's washroom and was sitting on the floor. With one shotgun cartridge remaining, he contemplated suicide, court documents show.

Instead, he set the gun down and left it leaning against a sink counter. He left the washroom and found the officer, telling him: "I'm the shooter."

He was arrested.

While being escorted out of the school in handcuffs, he told police they should check the home of Drayden and Dayne Fontaine.

At his sentencing hearing, Fontaine said: "I can't undo what I did. I'm sorry."

The adult sentence means Fontaine is not eligible for parole for 10 years, at which point he will be in his late 20s. If parole is granted at some point, he will be subject to conditions and monitoring for the rest of his life.

About the Author

Charles Hamilton is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.

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