Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is deeply moved by the courage shown in a northern Saskatchewan community that lost four people in a mass shooting.
Trudeau is visiting the isolated Dene community of La Loche, which was rocked to its core last Friday when two brothers were killed in a home before a teacher and an aide were shot at the high school.
A 17-year-old boy, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Friends have said he was an outcast at home and a victim of bullying at school.
Trudeau is to be joined by his public safety, justice and health ministers, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde.
The prime minister says in a statement that he wants to personally express to the people of La Loche the country’s shock and sadness.
“It is both heartbreaking and devastating when lives so full of promise are taken from us too soon. On Jan. 22, four Canadians were senselessly killed. Seven more were injured, and the lives of countless others were altered by these terrible events,” he says.
“I have … been deeply moved by the courage of the families and friends of the victims, the mental-health workers, the school’s personnel and students, the mayor and indigenous leaders.”
Teachers from the school have posted a letter on Facebook that assures students they won’t be deserted after last week’s events.
“Some people have expressed concern that some of us have left and the fact is, we are hurt and we are healing but we are still here,” the letter says.
“Some people need to leave to get help. We don’t judge or condemn anyone who needs to be somewhere else to pick up the pieces, but we are choosing to move forward together, as a family and a community,” in continues.
“We are supporting each other so we can help support you. We will be back. We will rebuild. We will get better together.
“So if you find yourself wondering where your teachers and school staff are, the answer is: we are in La Loche. Because truly, where else would we be?”