LA LOCHE SASK. ‑ Last week’s tragic shooting at La Loche Community School in northern Saskatchewan has once again put a spotlight on the psychological damage bullying and growing up in the remote north can produce.
After a lifetime of being bullied, according to fellow students, the 17-year-old accused in the shooting acted out with the murder of his two brothers, Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, who were found dead in the family home.
Maria Janvier, a 21-year-old teachers’ aide, died of gunshot wounds inflicted at La Loche Community School, and teacher Adam Wood, 35, died later in hospital. Seven others were wounded in the attack.
The suspect, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
“He once said that, ‘Someday I’m going to eff-up (the bully). I’m going to beat him up.’ He said that like a couple times,” said friend, George Janvier.
“It’s a mystery,” said another friend, Desjarlais-Thomas. “He didn’t seem like that type of guy.”
The accused had his first court appearance in Meadow Lake provincial court on Monday afternoon.
The youth was remanded in custody until next month. His next court appearance is Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
“We’re all saddened by this,” Bob Merasty, vice-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations said, “This could be any community.”
La Loche, Saskatchewan was a crossing point to the arctic on the fur trade route that straddles the rise of land known as ‘Methy Portage’ — a portage that divided the waterways that flow to the north and those that pour eastward to Hudson’s Bay. The fur markets of central Canada were fed by masses of pelts that passed through this remote northwest community for more than a century and a half.