La Loche school shooter sentenced to life in prison
A young man who killed four people and injured seven others in a shooting at a home and school in La Loche, Sask., has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Judge Janet McIvor said the shootings were planned in handing down the sentence Tuesday in a Meadow Lake courtroom.
“They were calculated to inflict as much damage as possible,” McIvor said, and went on to describe the shooter as the “sole architect and perpetrator of the crime.”
“When he woke up that morning, he knew it was the day he was going to shoot up the school.”
The young man was weeks away from his 18th birthday when he killed two teenage brothers, a teacher and a teacher’s aide in January 2016. Seven other people were injured.
Brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine were killed in their home before the teen went to the school where he gunned down teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier.
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McIvor said in February – when she ruled the young man, who is now 20, should be treated as an adult – that there was evidence that he was at a high risk to reoffend.
She said he “needs long-term monitoring for his rehabilitation” and ordered him to serve his sentence at a federal penitentiary.
Defence lawyer Aaron Fox argued for the judge to recommend the young man serve his sentence at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.
Fox said the psychiatric centre would offer more mental health and cultural support than a penitentiary and may help in understanding why the deadly shooting was carried out.
“If somebody gets a better understanding of why that happened, maybe it won’t happen again,” Fox said.
Crown prosecutor Pouria Tabrizi-Reardigan said there is no dispute the young man has some cognitive issues, but stated sentence placement should be left up to corrections officials
Before he was sentenced, the shooter addressed the court and apologized for his actions.
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“I want to apologize to my family,” he said.
“I also want to apologize to each and every one of my victims and everyone else in La Loche who are affected by my actions.
“I can’t undo what I did but I wish I could.”
The shooter pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
His name remains under a publication ban during the 30-day appeal period.
McIvor said the events of January 2016 have had a great impact in the northern Saskatchewan community with fewer teachers willing to work there and an increase in substance abuse and suicides.
She said the community has been abandoned.
“They have been let down, pretty much to a person. I have heard that counselling services are not available,” McIvor said, adding that students in the community aren’t receiving the support they need.
“It’s a travesty. It’s yet another victimization of all involved. It’s not fair, it’s not right.”
“More help is needed, counselling is needed. And it’s not right that that hasn’t been provided.”
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said his community needs and deserves the help McIvor highlighted during sentencing.
“Counselling services for sure because we’ve got a lot of people dealing with a traumatic event that occurred,” St. Pierre said outside of court.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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