Saskatchewan, Canada – Four people have been killed in Canada’s worst school shooting in a decade. Police said the teenage suspect of the shooting was taken into custody on Friday. The incident occurred in La Loche, an impoverished community located about 600 Km north of the city of Saskatoon, the largest city of Saskatchewan province.
Authorities have not revealed the identities of the suspect or the victims, except for Marie, a 23-year-old teacher who was the daughter of the town’s acting mayor, Kevin Janvier, according to the Associated Press. She and a female assistant died as the gunman opened fire at the remote community school, which has around 900 students.
The suspect had shot his two younger brothers at home before the school shooting. The police, which arrested the gunman outside the school and seized a gun, has not given an apparent motivation for the crime.
“After he shot his two brothers, he walked back to school and he shot … a teacher and a girl. They’re both dead. Four of them died,” said Joe Lemaigre, a family friend who lives on the outskirts of La Loche, as reported by Reuters. “I know the family. Their mother worked in Fort McMurray and his grandfather went to Meadow Lake to do some shopping. That’s when he shot them.”
It remains unclear how many people were injured. A few students were in surgery Friday evening in Saskatoon, according to Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Dale West, spokesman for the Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority’s 16-bed hospital, said additional doctors and nurses were sent to care for the wounded patients.
La Loche student Noel Desjarlais said he heard multiple shots fired at the school. He told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation there was lots of screaming and that he ran outside the location after he heard about seven shots.
Canada is not known for mass shootings, since gun laws in the country are stricter than in the United States. In 1989, 14 college students were fatally shot at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. Three years later, four people were killed at Concordia University.
In 2014, Saskatchewan had the highest rate of family violence reported to the police. Statistics Canada reported on Thursday the province doubled the national rate of 243 incidents per 100,000 people.
That same year teacher Janice Wilson reported violence at the La Loche school after a student tried to stab her, in addition to another teenager who attacked her at her home. The student who tried to stab Wilson in class served his 10-month sentence and was put back in her classroom.