Canada in Shock as Youth Held in Four Slayings at School, Home

  • Seven hurt in one of nation's deadliest such attacks in years
  • Saskatchewan premier to visit scene of `unimaginable' tragedy

Four people were killed and seven injured in a shooting at a school in rural Saskatchewan, leaving Canadian officials stunned after one of the deadliest such attacks in the country in almost three decades.

La Loche Community School

Photographer: Joshua Mercredi/AP

The incident was “unspeakably horrible” and “unimaginable,” Premier Brad Wall said Saturday at a briefing in Regina, the provincial capital. An investigation is continuing, and the province’s social services department is providing help for those affected, according to Wall, who said he will travel to the town of La Loche to help with the response.

“Saskatchewan has a great tradition of helping people out,” Wall said. “We’re going to work very closely with the community for as long as it takes.”

A male who can’t be named because he’s a minor was arrested after opening fire Friday afternoon in a high school in the Dene native community of about 3,000 people in northern Saskatchewan, said Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Saskatchewan commanding officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The seven people injured in the shooting have been hospitalized, Butterworth-Carr said at the briefing. The deaths took place at the school and at a second residential location, Butterworth-Carr said.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum. “We are grieving with the community.”

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer the families and friends of the victims our deepest condolences on this darkest of days,” Trudeau said in a statement on Friday. “Our hearts and prayers are also with those injured in the attack, that they may have a full and speedy recovery.”

The shooting was one of the worst involving a school in Canada since 1989, when a man killed 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal.

La Loche is about 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Regina and just east of Alberta’s oil-sands region. The town is home to Canada’s largest population of Dene, indigenous people who have lived in the area for as long as 10,000 years, according to the University of Saskatchewan.

The community was first connected to the rest of the province by a road in the 1960s, and like many isolated parts of northern Canada, depends on nearby resource extraction projects to provide employment and economic opportunities.

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