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Saskatchewan school shooting: 5 dead, 2 critically hurt; Trudeau says Canada's 'heart breaking'

"This is every parent's worst nightmare," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday evening.
By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Jan. 22, 2016 at 8:59 PM

LA LOCHE, Saskatchewan, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Five people were killed Friday and two were critically hurt after gunfire erupted at a community school in northern Canada's Saskatchewan territory, authorities said.

The shooting occurred about noon local time Friday at the La Loche Community School, which houses grades 7 through 12 in the small town of La Loche -- located about 370 miles north of Saskatoon.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the death toll at five, but it wasn't immediately specified whether those killed were students, staff members or otherwise.

"We have no idea what happened and how it happened and why it happened," Kevin Janvier, acting deputy mayor of La Loche, said. "It's something we should never hear of happening and it's happened today."

Officials said a suspect has been taken into custody. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix cited a fire official at the scene as saying a boy with a gun was arrested. The news report also noted another shooting incident at a nearby residence, but it wasn't immediately clear whether it was related to the school shooting.

"The country's heart is breaking for the people of La Loche, Saskatchewan today," Trudeau said at a news conference late Friday. "We all grieve with, and stand with, the community of La Loche and all of Saskatchewan on this terrible, tragic day."

"Obviously this is every parent's worst nightmare," he continued. "When I spoke with community leaders, they obviously expressed that their community is reeling and all of us across the country, our hearts are going out to the families and the whole community."

"Words cannot express my shock and sorrow at the horrific events today in La Loche," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in a statement. "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."

"This is something that you only see on TV most of the time," Clearwater River Dene Nation Chief Teddy Clark said. "Both Clearwater and La Loche, a lot of people are in shock."

"I ran outside the school. There was lots of screaming. There was about six, seven shots before I got outside," 10th grade student Noel Desjarlais said. "I believe there was more shots by the time I did get out."

Authorities locked the school down, along with another in the area, immediately upon learning of the shooting.

Officials said about 900 students attend the school. La Loche is a town of about 3,000 people.

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