Residents of Stanley Mission in northern Saskatchewan held a candlelight vigil Monday night and sent a powerful message of solidarity to the community of La Loche as the village begins recovering from Friday’s shootings.
Roughly 150 Stanley Mission residents gathered in the shape of a heart on a frozen lake holding lanterns with La Loche spelled out in the middle. Stanley Mission is a First Nations community approximately 500 kilometres southeast of La Loche.
Prestin Mercredi-Fleming captured photos of the event and posted them on Facebook where they been shared more than 2,000 times. He described the experience as “surreal.”
“It was very hard to keep my composure and get a good shot,” Fleming told Global News in a phone interview.
Fleming who works as a recreation coordinator at Rhoda Hardlotte Memorial Keethanow High School in Stanley Mission said the tragedy in La Loche hit “really close to home.”
“I’ve been to [La Loche] a couple of times for volleyball tournaments, I coached, and it hit really close to home knowing something like that was happening in one of our northern communities,” he said. “It was a very hard thing to come to terms to accept it was happening. And all we could do was send out support.”
Fleming thanked everyone in Stanley Mission who participated in vigil.
“I just wanted La Loche to know that not only Stanley, I’m sure everyone in Canada is mourning for their losses,” he said. “I want to thank Stanley Mission, all the staff and everyone who came out to pay their respects.”
FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting
Police say a suspect opened fire at a school in La Loche on Friday, killing two people and injuring seven others. Two others were also shot and killed at a nearby residence.
The victims have been identified as brothers Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, along with Maria Janvier, 21, a teacher’s aide and Adam Wood, 35, a teacher at La Loche Community School
The 17-year-old suspect in the shooting appeared in court on Monday and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Feb. 22.
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