La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre takes comfort knowing his community will no longer relive the tragedy of a school shooting each time the case winds through the courts.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear the shooter’s appeal of his adult sentence. It also meant Randan Fontaine’s identity, although widely known in the northern community, could be made public.
In 2018, Fontaine was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and attempted murder for killing four people and injuring seven others on Jan. 22, 2016.
“We don’t want La Loche defined by that one incident, but we want La Loche defined by its resiliency,” St. Pierre told Global News.
The mayor said the community has moved forward, and the court’s decision is another step in the healing process.
“We’ve got those seven people that will be living with those traumas for the rest of their lives,” St. Pierre said.
“They still have to live with the consequences of that day.”
Fontaine, now 22, began his killing spree when he was two weeks shy of his 18 birthday. He killed Dayne and Drayden Fontaine at a home in the northern village.
They were his cousins, and court heard the gunman considered them brothers. After carrying out their murders over the lunch hour, he drove the La Loche Dene High School.
Armed with a shotgun, Randan Fontaine fired shots at students in the building’s foyer. When he entered the office, he shot teacher Adam Wood, who died in hospital. Teacher’s aide Marie Janvier, who grew up in the community, was also killed.
Charlene Klyne worked as a substitute teacher at the time. One of the seven people injured, Klyne is now legally blind and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
She said the Supreme Court “did the right thing” by not hearing the case.
“He did what he did, so now he has to suffer the consequences,” Klyne said in an interview.
Meanwhile, Klyne said she hasn’t adjusted to living with a visual impairment.
“I’m still sitting here waiting for surgery. I’m stilling waiting for compensation,” she said.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected Fontaine’s case in a 2-1 decision last year. Defence lawyer Aaron Fox argued the trial judge was overly focused on the crime’s horrific nature and paid less attention to the gunman’s cognitive issues.
Early in his school years, the shooter was identified as needing psychiatric and psychological supports, but never received them because of a lack of resources, Fox said.
He was taking Grade 10 classes for the third time and was about to fail again, his lawyer said.
— With files from The Canadian Press