La Loche, Sask., shooting victim shares story, calls for more support

Charlene Klyne is one of seven people who were wounded in the shooting in La Loche, Sask., and says more support is needed from the government.

Teacher hurt in school shooting says she has not been able to go home

For medial reasons, Charlene Klyne has been unable to return home to La Loche, Sask., and says she hasn't received enough supports as she stays in Saskatoon. (Don Somers/CBC)

Months after she was shot at the La Loche Community School, Charlene Klyne is sharing her story as she calls for more help for the victims of the shooting.

"We continue to suffer, though. Not just physically. Mentally. Financially."

On Jan. 22, two staff members were killed and seven people were wounded in the shooting at the community school. Two brothers were also found dead in a home nearby.

A 17-year-old is charged in connection with the shooting.

'Does it hurt to be dead?'

Klyne was called in to the school as a substitute teacher that day. She was in a classroom with one student and a tutor — Marie Janvier — when a teacher came to the door and told the group to stay, slamming the door shut.

Wondering what was going on, Klyne looked at the two people still in the room with her. That's when she noticed someone through the window of the closed door.

"And I look back to see him raise the gun and fire it."

Klyne said she doesn't remember hearing a gunshot, only the sound of the wood splintering as the bullet came through the door.

Charlene Klyne said educational assistant Marie Janvier ran for help after Klyne was shot. Janvier was killed in the shooting. (Facebook)

"And I'm thinking, 'God, this hurts.' And, to be honest, I still think it's funny… because I thought, 'Does it hurt to be dead?'"

Klyne said she felt a burning in her arm, chest, neck and face. She said she couldn't see.

Janvier grabbed Klyne, turned her around and told her she had been hurt.

That is when, Klyne says, Janvier left the room for help.

The student in the room, who by that time was lying on the floor, said to Klyne that the shooter had come back.

"He came back and he shot her," Klyne said the student told her, of what happened to Janvier.

Far from home

Hours later, Klyne was flown to Saskatoon for treatment — where she has been ever since January's tragic event.

The shooting left Klyne blind in her left eye. She's spent time in the hospital, and continues to get surgeries on her eye. She also lost a tooth.

Klyne told reporters she hasn't been able to return home. Aside from going to Regina for some appointments, Klyne has been staying in Saskatoon.

"But we've had to pay for everything for being here. Everything's come out of our pocket — all of the expenses of living in Saskatoon."

Charlene Klyne has been asking for more support as a victim of the shooting for years. (Don Somers/CBC)

With her savings depleted, Klyne said the $360 she's been getting every two weeks from Workers' Compensation Board is not enough.

"The little bit of help that we've been given, to me, is like being victimized every day, over and over again."

NDP wants to see government step up

Klyne acknowledges that she isn't the only victim of the shooting and said that they all need help. NDP MLA Buckley Belanger was with Klyne Wednesday as they called for more support for victims.

"There were a lot of kind words said and promises made in the days following the tragedy but these victims need the Sask. Party to stand by those words and actually provide some help," Belanger said in a written release.

Government unaware of Klyne's case

The government says while supports have been offered in the community of La Loche, Sask., they were unaware of victims like Charlene Klyne who haven't been able to return home. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

Don Morgan, minister responsible for workplace safety and the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board, said Wednesday afternoon that the government was unaware of Klyne's case.

Since January's shooting, Morgan said there has been supports in the community of La Loche, including a person who victims can go to in order to ensure they are getting the help they need.

Morgan said the government did not realize that there were victims like Klyne who were not in the community.

"We've wanted to reach out and be as supportive as we possibly can," Morgan said.

The minister added that following the shooting, he reached out to Belanger, asking the NDP MLA to let the government know of any way it could help the people in the community.

"So that offer still stands. If there are people he knows of that need help, ask him to contact us."

About the Author

After spending five years in radio, Courtney Markewich joined CBC Saskatoon in 2016. She is currently a Social Media News Editor/Presenter for @CBCSask and @CBCSaskatoon.

With files from CBC's Devin Heroux