A year ago today, La Loche experienced its darkest hour when a 17-year-old boy shot and killed four people in the northern Saskatchewan village.
The shootings happened at home in the village and inside the community’s high school.
“Each and everyone was lost. We lost a bit of ourselves. We became people we never thought we would,” Jayren Janvier, a La Loche high school student, said.
In the wake of the incident, a spotlight was shone on issues that had plagued the community.
Committees were set up to address them. Now, affordable housing units are being built, an education degree program is established and there are more social workers at the high school.
La Loche students also voted last month to reopen the building’s front doors which had been walled-off since the shootings.
“Every time we walk by a wall, it triggers us and reminds us what has happened back in January,” Janvier said.
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However, village leaders said there’s still much work to do and are urging that La Loche not be forgotten.
“We’re human beings, we don’t deserve to live in these conditions and everyone has to step up to the plate and make positive change,” Leonard Montgrand, executive director of the La Loche Friendship Centre, said.
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As for the teen who pulled the trigger a year ago, he has pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges. It’s yet to be determined if he’ll be charged as an adult or not.
However on Sunday, the focus will be on those who were lost as the community comes together for a vigil to mark the anniversary of this tragic event. It’s another step in their healing journey.
“We would like to move forward and reclaim what we have lost,” Janvier said.
Members of the media were asked to not attend the vigil in La Loche.