National Post (Latest Edition)
‘ THERE WAS LOTS OF SCREAMING’
SUSPECT IN CUSTODY AFTER FOUR KILLED, SEVERAL INJURED IN SASKATCHEWAN SCHOOL SHOOTING.
Four people are dead — including two brothers of the alleged gunman and a 23- year- old teacher — and two are in critical condition following what is likely the worst Canadian school shooting since t he 1989 École Polytechnique massacre.
About lunchtime Friday, an unknown teenage gunman opened fire at Saskatchewan’ s La Loche Community School, located six hours north of Saskatoon.
“There was about six, seven shots before I got outside. I believe there was more shots by the time I did get out,” Grade 10 student Noel Desjarlais- Thomas told a CBC camera crew.
The building was filled with “lots of screaming,” he said.
He said his friends ran past him urging him to get out.
“Run, bro, run!” he 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 I was hearing those shots, too, so of course I started running.”
Desjar la is-Thomas said he believes one of his friends might be among the dead.
“I saw him f all down. That’s when I started running.” he told The Canadian Press. “I didn’t want to look back.”
La Loche acting Mayor Kevin Janvier told The Associated Press that his 23- year-old daughter, Marie, a teacher, was shot dead by the gunman.
He said RCMP told him the gunman is alleged to have first shot two of his siblings before killing Janvier’s daughter. The acting mayor said he did not know if the alleged shooter knew his daughter.
“He shot two of his brothers at his home and made his way to the school,” he said, adding that Marie was his only child. “I’m just so sad.”
Other relatives said they could not believe that Marie had been killed.
“Her smile will light up the room on the darkest day,” said Sandie Janvier in a Facebook message, calling her the “sweetest caring person … We lost a loving sister today.”
A La Loche resident, who did not want to use her name, said her nephew attended the school and that the alleged shooter broadcast his intentions on Facebook.
The gunman reportedly boasted that he had killed two people and was coming to “shoot up” the school.
“My nephew doesn’ t know why. He doesn’ t understand why a quiet person, who was so happy, would do something so horrible,” said the La Loche woman.
As of Friday night, the shooting investigation spanned two scenes: the high school and a home in nearby Dene Crescent.
“Obviously, this is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Davos, Switzerland, after a briefing by the RCMP commissioner.
At an RCMP press conference, officers would not disclose the number of injured, the ages or genders of the deceased, the locations where they were killed or even the firearm used.
It was at 1 p.m. when officers from the La Loche RCMP detachment first received a call that an “ac- tive shooter” was inside the school.
The shots were fired inside the De ne Building, which is reserved for Grades 7 to 12.
School co- ordinator Norma Janvier said she was in her office when she heard gunshots.
“I didn’ t know what was going on …. I thought the kids were just playing around or something, like a locker slamming and stuff,” she told The Canadian Press.
At 1:47 p.m ., said an RCMP statement, officers located and arrested the male suspect outside the school.
The suspect, described by local officials as a “boy with a gun,” remains in custody.
Premier Brad Wall issued a statement expressing shock and sorrow at what he called “the horrific events.”
“Right now, La Loche is devastated,” said Clearwater River Dene Nation Chief Teddy Clark. La Loche is a remote Dene community of about 3,000 people on the eastern shore of Lac La Loche.
“Both Clearwater and La Loche, a lot of people are in shock. This is something that you only see on TV most of the time.”
Georgina Jolibois, NDP MP for the riding, used to be the town’s mayor and has family members who attend the school.
“As the former mayor of La Loche, I am shocked and saddened by the shooting in the Dene Building at the La Loche Community School in my riding,” she said in a statement.
She added that the community “has faced adversity in the past and we will persevere.”
For years, La Loche has been struggling with a suicide epidemic.
The annual suicide rate in the surrounding Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority averages 43.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 people — more than triple the provincial average.
Friday’s attack will likely prove to be the worst- ever shooting at a Canadian high school.
Previously, the worst act of secondary- school viol ence in Canada came in 1975, when a student and teacher were murdered at Brampton Centennial Secondary School before the 16- year- old gunman turned the gun on himself.
In 1989 at École Polytechnique, Montreal, 25-year-old Marc Lepine shot more than two dozen people, killing 14 women before killing himself.
And at Dawson College in Laval, Que., in 2006, 18-yearold Anastasia De Sousa was killed and 20 others were hurt when gunman Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon. Gill was killed in a gunfight with police.