All of Canada is 'standing' with community of La Loche: Goodale

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says all of Canada is standing with the community of La Loche, Sask., as it grieves for four residents who were killed in a mass shooting.

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Goodale is scheduled to travel to La Loche on Sunday, along with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde, to meet with local residents and extend their condolences.

"(The purpose of the visit) is to share the grief and the necessary healing in that community," Goodale told CTV News Channel in a phone interview on Sunday. "That's number one: to share in that horrible sense of loss and to make the point that the country is standing with them.”

Goodale also said it would be important for the visiting leaders to listen to the needs of the community.

"This is a community that has had difficulties in the past, and they have a sense that governments haven't listened to them well enough," he said. "Solutions here need to be built from the community up, not from the top down."

Police say a gunman shot and killed four people and injured seven others on Friday at two different locations in La Loche, a remote community of about 3,000 people.

Officers responded to reports of a shooter at a local high school at about 1:15 p.m. on Friday.

The gunman was active for about eight minutes, before police chased him through the school, arrested him and took him into custody, police said.

In those eight minutes, two victims were fatally shot.

Marie Janvier, a 21-year-old tutor, was found dead at the school, and Adam Wood, a 35-year-old teacher, was rushed to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Police then went to a nearby home, where they found Dayne Fontaine, 17, and Drayden Fontaine, 13, dead.

Seven other victims from the school were taken to the La Loche Health Centre and Hospital with injuries. Four were then airlifted to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

On Saturday, RCMP announced that they had charged a 17-year-old suspect with four counts of first-degree murder in the case.

The teen, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, also faces seven counts of attempted murder and one count of an unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Meadow Lake Provincial Court on Monday.

The high school where the shooting took place remained closed on Sunday as police continued their investigation on the grounds.

The school district superintendent said it is unclear when students will be able to return to classes, and that grief counsellors and social workers were on hand to speak with anybody affected by the event.

A former La Loche teacher, who now lives in Burnaby, B.C., has set up an online fundraiser for the victims of the shooting.

According to the fundraising website, the money is intended to help pay for funerals and supporting those who were injured. Any excess funds will go towards the La Loche Community School.

With files from CTV Saskatoon and the Canadian Press


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