Police said officers were called to the 1000-block of 1st Street West, north of the Kindersley Hospital, just after 10 a.m. on Thursday for a report of shots fired inside a home.
The call came in from a daughter who had fled the home, according to police. RCMP said she provided information that helped officers decide to hold the scene, and not enter right away.
Officers secured a perimeter around the home where the shooting happened as well as a larger one from Highway 21, to Highway 7, from Kindersley Hospital and to Main Street to keep people away from the area and safe from any potential threat.
All schools in Kindersley were also put in hold and secure modes.
At that time, the status of a suspect was unknown. Officers made several attempts to make contact, but there was no response.
Entry was initially made by RCMP via a wheeled-robot, through a broken window to access the home.
Members of the emergency response team entered the home at roughly 3 p.m. and located David Michael Gartner, 66, and Elsie Gartner, 64, who were both dead. No one else was inside the home, RCMP said.
“This investigation leads us to believe this was a murder-suicide,” Saskatchewan RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Rob King said on Friday during a press conference in Regina.
“At this time, we believe the husband shot the wife.”
One “long-gun” was seized at the scene, according to police.
“There was no firearms prohibition. There was no restraining order. The couple had never come to the awareness of RCMP for any type of domestic violence situation,” King said.
King said they were going through a divorce and believed the house had just been sold.
“This couple is well-known within the community of Kindersley,” King said.
“A tragedy of this scale I think is something that every community, there’s no playbook on how to deal with it. We would do a debrief with our officers, we have several services available to our officers.”
Elsie was a dedicated senior care aid at Kindersley Manor and worked at the hospital.
“Our thoughts are with the surviving members of this family,” King said.
“As you can imagine when you’ve been exposed to such a traumatic event … it will take some time to process, it will take some time for that family to come to terms with the fact that they’ve lost parents (and) grandparents. I can imagine it would be a very difficult time for them.”
Autopsies are being conducted by the Saskatchewan coroner’s service Friday.
A perimeter surrounding the home continues as the RCMP major crimes unit investigates. Forensic identification services are also examining the scene.
Kindersley is approximately 185 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon.
-With files from Global’s Kyle Benning