Mul­ti­ple deaths in school shoot­ing

Four dead, two crit­i­cally in­jured in shoot­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

A stu­dent who was just re­turn­ing from lunch when shots were fired at a north­ern Saskatchewan school Fri­day said his friends ran past him urg­ing him to get out.

“Run,bro, run!’’ Noel Desjar­lais-Thomas, 16, re­called his friends say­ing to him as they fled La Loche’s ju­nior and se­nior high school.

“There’s a shot­gun! There’s a shot­gun! They were just yelling to me. And then Iwas hear­ing those shots, too, so of course I started run­ning.’’

A solemn Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau con­firmed from Davos, Switzer­land, that five peo­ple were killed and two crit­i­cally in­jured in the re­mote Dene com­mu­nity. RCMP later clar­i­fied the num­ber of dead to be four.

Trudeau said the al­leged shooter was in cus­tody.

Shots were fired at the school build­ing around 1 p.m., but it wasn’t clear whether­all the vic­tims were from the school.

RCMP said they had in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the build­ing and at a se­cond lo­ca­tion inthe town.

Trudeau said the com­mis­sioner of the RCMPad­vised him of the sit­u­a­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously this is ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare,’’ the prime min­is­ter said. “We all grieve with and stand with the com­mu­nity of La Loche and all of Saskatchewan on this ter­ri­ble, tragic day.’’

Desjar­lais-Thomas, a Grade 10 stu­dent,said he be­lieves one of his friends might be among the dead.

“I saw him fall down. That’s when Is­tarted run­ning.’’ he told The Cana­dian Press. “I didn’t want to look back.’’ Kevin Jan­vier, act­ing mayor of La Loche, told CKBI ra­dio that his daugh­ter, Marie, wa­sone of the vic­tims, thoughit wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear if she had died or was­in­jured. Premier Brad Wall is­sued a state­ment ex­press­ing shock and sor­row at what he called “the hor­rific events.’’

Bruce Heyman, the U.S. am­bas­sador­toCanada, sent a mes­sage of con­do­lence.

“We have ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar tragedies far too of­ten in the United States an­dun­der­stand all too well the heartache and sad­ness that re­sult from such a hor­rific event,’’ he said.

“Ourthoughts and prayers re­main with the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies, the com­mu­nity of La Loche, the res­i­dents of Saskatchewan, and all Cana­di­ans dur­ing this most dif­fi­cult time.’’

The school’s high school build­ing, which houses stu­dents from Grades 7 to 12, was put in lock­down. The Ducharme El­e­men­tary School a few blocks away was also locked dow­nasa pre­cau­tion. Moun­ties asked par­ents and res­i­dents tostay away.

School co-or­di­na­tor Norma Jan­vier said she was in her of­fice when she heard gun­shots.

“I didn’t know what was go­ing on ... I thought­the kids were just play­ing around or some­thing, like a locker slam­ming and stuff,’’ she told The Cana­dian Press.

She was go­ing to check on­the noise, but a teacher closed her of­fice door, so Jan­vier stayed in­side un­til she was told it was safe to leave.

“All I heard was cops run­ning aroundinthe school.’’

Wall promised that nec­es­sary cri­sis sup­port and coun­selling ser­vices would be pro­vided to the school and the com­mu­nity.

CP PHOTO

The out­side of La Loche Com­mu­nity School is shown on Fri­day.

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