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Canada La Loche shootings: The victims, the town, the school and the tragic tale so far​

Saskatchewan

The La Loche shootings: The victims, the town and the tragic tale so far

With four people dead after an armed rampage at the local high school, a northern Saskatchewan community is eager for answers and healing

Cody Montgrand leaves a prayer candle at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the La Loche school shooting.

Cody Montgrand leaves a prayer candle at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the La Loche school shooting.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

THE SHOOTING

CARRIE COCKBURN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
  • Shots were fired around 1 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the La Loche Community School, the lone high school in La Loche, Sask.
  • About 150 students and teachers were inside, Saskatchewan RCMP say.
  • Nine people were shot in an eight-minute period.
  • Police arrived on the scene between 1:08 p.m. and 1:10 p.m., spotted a shooter and pursued the suspect deeper into the school before making an arrest at gunpoint.
  • Separately, two boys were found dead at a home in the neighbourhood known as Other Village. They had been killed some time before the school shooting.
  • A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was arrested in connection with the killings.
TRISH McALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL (SOURCE: THE CANADIAN PRESS)

TRISH McALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL (SOURCE: THE CANADIAN PRESS)

La Loche mayor calls for strength as the community mourns

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THE VICTIMS


THE TOWN

La Loche, an isolated Dene community in northwest Saskatchewan that borders the Clearwater River Dene Nation, has roots dating back to before the fur trade. The region is predominantly young and indigenous, and recently it has struggled with high rates of unemployment, suicide and substance abuse. Read Patrick White's analysis of the town and its residents.

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The killings hit hard in the close-knit town. But in La Loche, The Globe and Mail spoke with dozens of community members and local leaders, including many who said their hometown is being unfairly portrayed as a hopeless place where only terrible things happen. Read Wendy Stueck, Carrie Tait and Kathryn Blaze Baum's report.

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Sunday worshippers pray for the victims of Friday's mass shooting in La Loche, Sask.

Sunday worshippers pray for the victims of Friday’s mass shooting in La Loche, Sask.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The suspect: The 17-year-old is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The province: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says his province got in touch with officials in the United States for help rebuilding after a school shooting, after an offer of condolences by the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman. The killings have also renewed criticism of the lack of provincial mental-health services in the North.

Justin Trudeau praises La Loche teachers during visit

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Ottawa: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, visiting La Loche on Jan. 29, pledged to support the remote community, though he was short on concrete details about how the federal government would do that.

The school: Local and provincial officials are debating whether tearing down the school would help the community to heal.


With reports from Carrie Tait, Justin Giovannetti, Wendy Stueck, Kathryn Blaze Baum, Ingrid Peritz, Robyn Doolittle, Patrick White, Sunny Dhillon and The Canadian Press


MORE READING

We fail to ask: How did La Loche become like this? Molly Thomas is a Regina-born host/producer for Context with Lorna Dueck and a Master’s candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs. In 2010, she was part of a team that travelled to La Loche and created the award-winning documentary Denendeh.
After La Loche, using our grief for good Wab Kinew is the associate vice-president of indigenous affairs at the University of Winnipeg and author of The Reason You Walk.
After La Loche, using our grief for good Bob Rae teaches at the University of Toronto and is the author of What’s Happened to Politics? He is a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend, a law firm that acts for First Nations across Canada.
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