La Loche in shock after shooting kills four
Candles were still burning in front of La Loche’s Dene high school Saturday morning.
The town was still grappling with Friday’s tragic shooting that killed four people and left several others injured.
“It is a significant event for Canada,” RCMP Supt. Grant St. Germaine said at a press conference Saturday.
“My understanding from going through some of the information I read this morning, there's never been a school shooting of this magnitude in the country.”
According to Mounties, officers received several calls from teachers and students at the Dene high school shortly after 1 p.m. Friday. A gunman was firing shots at people in the school and people were injured, callers reported.
Police were able to arrest an armed suspect and seize a firearm after a chase through the school.
Police were then called to a home in the town where officers found the bodies of two teenagers — Dayne Fontaine, 17, and Drayden Fontaine, 13.
A total of nine staff and students were shot at the school, RCMP said. Marie Janvier, a 21-year-old teacher’s aide, died at the scene while 35-year-old Adam Wood, a teacher, died in hospital.
A 17-year-old boy has since been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and a single count of unauthorized possession of a firearm, according to St. Germaine. The teen cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
La Loche, located about 600 kilometres north of Saskatoon, is a remote Dene community of about 3,000 people on the eastern shore of Lac La Loche in the northern boreal forest.
Many in the community told CTV News they knew the victims or the suspect personally. Several residents paid their respects Friday evening at a candlelight vigil outside the school.
Wood’s family said he was a new teacher, originally from Uxbridge, Ont., who only moved to the community this past September. He was enjoying his experiences in La Loche.
"Adam was quite an adventurer, had a passion for life, and would make you laugh until your stomach hurt," his family said in a statement. "He was always up for a good challenge and lived each day joyously."
Ashton Lemaigre, a friend of Janvier's, told The Canadian Press the tutor was kind and patient with children.
"The kids loved having her around," Lemaigre said. "When we were out and about kids would say 'Hi.' They would just come running to her. And she was just a friend to everybody."
A Go Fund Me page set up Saturday was hoping to raise $60,000 to cover funeral costs for the four deceased and expenses for those recovering in hospital. The page had raised more than $6,000 within five hours of its launch.
RCMP have not yet provided details on the motive behind the shooting. Police were still investigating at both the high school and the home Saturday.
--- with files from CTVNews.ca and The Canadian Press