Multiple deaths in school shooting
Four dead, two critically injured in shooting
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.
The outside of La Loche Community School is shown on Friday.