Skip to main content
la loche shootings

Gerald Moise, father of Dayne Fontaine, looks on as a fire softens the ground to dig a grave in La Loche, Sask., Monday.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Drayden Fontaine, known as Lul, liked to ride snowmobiles and throw snowballs. Dayne Fontaine showed outsiders how to snare animals and tried to teach them Dene. Drayden, 13, and Dayne, 17, were brothers, both killed in La Loche in one of Canada's worst shootings.

They died on Friday in their grandparents' home, where they spent much of their lives – a

yellow house sitting on Lac La Loche, overlooking the ice road. Police say the suspect, 17, then went to the La Loche Community School, shooting several teachers and students around 1 p.m.

Students were just returning from their lunch break.

Two people died and seven others were injured at the school. Doctors in Saskatoon, about 600 kilometres to the southeast, have operated on some of those victims. A judge on Monday placed a publication ban on the names of the injured.

Caitlyn Fontaine Lemaigre, one of Drayden and Dayne's cousins, knew many of the people involved in Friday afternoon's violence. She was especially close with Drayden.

"I'm sitting here thinking of the good times we had, our ski-doo rides last year, hitting vehicles with snowballs, playing pool," she wrote on Facebook, adding emojis of red hearts, broken hearts and upset faces to the message. "Now who's gonna do those stuff with me? We made alotta memories together brother."

"I wish you didn't [have] to go so soon! I want you here!! I'll miss those text messages saying 'what's up sis' or 'I love you sis.' … Will meet again soon my brother, till then watch over me!!" Caitlyn declined to be interviewed but consented to sharing her messages.

Heather MacKillop used to teach in the Northern Saskatchewan town, leaving two years ago. "Dayne was an amazing student who held a special place in my heart," she wrote on Facebook. "He was in my first ever home room, and was an amazing kid. He had an incredible love for the Dene culture.

"He taught me my first (and several more) Dene words, taught me to tie a snare and loved sharing his hunting stories. I'll never forget his smile and jokes about how I should name my then unborn son after him. He never failed to make me laugh when he made fun of me trying to repeat Dene words," she wrote. "He taught me more about the north and the Dene culture than I taught him about English and government. Students have a way of stealing your heart and becoming one of your kids, and [Friday] we lost an amazing kid."

RCMP charged the alleged shooter with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. On Monday, he wore an orange jumpsuit when he appeared in court in Meadow Lake, about 350 kilometres south of La Loche. His legs and hands were shackled and the courtroom was full.

The accused spoke softly. The judge asked him whether he understood he is not to contact several people involved in the case. The teenager is to be held in custody until his next court appearance on Feb. 22. He cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Ian Mokuruk, who is representing the boy, said outside court that his client is upset. "Much like his demeanour in court, he was not at all happy, which is understandable. It's a very tragic situation," the lawyer said.

Two adults were killed in the school shooting. Responders declared Marie Janvier, a 21-year-old teacher's aide who grew up in town, dead at the scene. Adam Wood, a 35-year-old teacher, was declared deceased at the hospital. Mr. Wood, from Uxbridge, Ont., was in his first year of teaching in La Loche.

Hundreds of people attended a community vigil on Sunday night, where residents shared stories of loved ones taking their lives, and of substance abuse. Perry Herman, who spoke at the vigil, called on the community to pay more attention to bullying, saying victims may be afraid to speak out. Bullying played a role in the actions of the accused, Mr. Herman maintained.

Other residents cautioned against drawing any conclusions about the motivation or background of the accused, saying it was more important to focus on helping the families involved.

"For the community to be together and support each other and get over what happened, we can't be talking about that," Evangeline Lemaigre, a librarian and support worker with the school on the nearby Clearwater River Dene Nation reserve, said Monday.