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A resident of La Loche, Sask., pays his respects on Jan. 23, 2016, to the victims of a school shooting. (JASON FRANSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A resident of La Loche, Sask., pays his respects on Jan. 23, 2016, to the victims of a school shooting. (JASON FRANSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

School shootings

Suspect makes first court appearance in La Loche shootings Add to ...

A teen charged with killing four people at a school and a home in a shooting in northern Saskatchewan stared at the floor for much of his first court appearance.

The tall, thin 17-year-old wore an orange jumpsuit and had his legs and hands shackled as he was brought into a packed courtroom in Meadow Lake — a community about 350 kilometres south of La Loche, where the shooting happened.

A 17-year-old is charged in Saskatchewan's mass shooting (CP Video)

He spoke in a soft voice as the judge asked him whether he understood he is not to contact several people involved in the case.

He is to be held in custody until his next court appearance Feb. 22.

The teen, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

A teacher and an aide were shot during an eight-minute period at the La Loche high school on Friday. Seven people were injured.

Two brothers were also shot to death at a home in La Loche prior to the school shooting.

Judge Janet McIvor placed a publication ban on the names of the injured.

“There’s to be no phone calls, no letters, no getting messages to any of these people or their families.

“There’s to be no contact at all.”

Outside court, lawyer Ian Mokuruk said he was contacted on the weekend to represent the accused.

Asked about how his client was doing, he said: “He’s upset. Much like his demeanour in court, he was not at all happy, which is understandable. It’s a very tragic situation.”

Bob Merasty, a second vice chief with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, was at court. He said the tragic situation echoes larger problems with youth on First Nations reserves.

“This is a young man who is perhaps a victim himself of circumstances,” Merasty said.

“It’s a community with a history of violence, bullying, suicides, drugs and abuse and dysfunction. This could be any community, this could be my community.”

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