Five people are dead and two are in critical condition following a shooting on Friday in a school in an aboriginal community in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Police confirmed an ‘active and ongoing’ incident at La Loche Community School in the province of Saskatchewan this afternoon and were warning people to stay away.
The neighboring elementary school was also placed into lockdown as a precautionary measure, but it now appears that the shooter has been taken into custody. The identities of the shooter and the victims have not yet been released.
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The scene: The outside of La Loche Community School is shown on Friday following a school shooting
Update: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says five people have died and two are in critical condition following the tragic shooting, adding that it’s ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’
A Facebook post on the school’s page says there was an emergency occurring at the Dene Building of the school. There is no longer an ‘active shooter’
‘Obviously this is every parent’s worst nightmare,’ Trudeau said.
‘I’m not 100 percent sure what’s actually happened but it started at home and ended at the school,’ La Loche Acting Mayor Kevin Janvier said.
A hospital nurse said a number of people were being treated for gunshot wounds, CBC reported.
The La Loche Health Centre and Hospital declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
CBC spoke with 10th grader Noel Desjarlais who said that he heard screams as he darted away from the school.
‘I ran outside the school,’ Desjarlais said.
‘There was lots of screaming, there was about six, seven shots before I got outside. I believe there was more shots by the time I did get out.’
A cellphone video taken by one resident and broadcast by the CBC showed students walking away from the school through the snow-covered ground and emergency personal moving in.
John Baglieri of CTV said on Twitter that he spoke to a student at the school who told him they saw a staff member shot. This has not been confirmed by the authorities.
Teddy Clark, the leader of the Clearwater River Dene Nation, a branch of aboriginal government, told Saskatoon Star Phoenix: ‘The community usually pulls together really strong in times like this.
At least five people are reported to have died and another person taken into custody at La Loche Community School in Saskatchewan province, Canada, this afternoon
‘Right now, La Loche is devastated. 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.’
According to earlier reports the shooting happened inside the Dene building which usually holds classes for approximately 900 students aged between 12 and 18.
The provincial government confirmed that there has been ‘a very serious incident but the information is unclear,’ saying the ‘situation is dynamic and still unfolding at this time.’
Opposition Leader Cam Broten said on Twitter that he was ‘shocked and saddened by news of a school shooting in La Loche. My thoughts are with all students, staff and families affected.’
A Facebook post on the school’s page says there was an emergency occurring at the Dene Building of the school.
Ran for his life: 10th grader Noel Desjarlais who said that he heard screams as he darted away from the school (pictured here)
Police said they are in the preliminary stages of their investigation and will release further updates when they become available.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall also issued the following statement to the community: ‘Words cannot express my shock and sorrow at the horrific events today in La Loche,’ Wall said.
‘My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends and all the people of the community. Thank you to the RCMP and all the emergency personnel who responded quickly to the shootings. Saskatchewan Education and Social Services will be available to provide all necessary crisis support and counselling services to the school and the community.
In 2014, a teacher expressed concern about violence at the La Loche school, citing an incident where a student who had tried to stab her was put back in her classroom after serving his sentence, and another attacked her at her home.
‘That student got 10 months,’ Janice Wilson told the CBC of the student who tried to stab her in class. ‘And when he was released he was returned to the school and was put in my classroom.’
Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, which has stricter gun laws than the United States. In the country’s worst school shooting, 14 college students were killed at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.