A teenager pleaded guilty Friday to the murder of two people and wounding seven others in a mass shooting at a high school in a remote aboriginal community in western Canada earlier this year. The 18-year-old, whose name was not released under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, also admitted to killing two brothers in a nearby home in northern Saskatchewan.
The teenager on Friday entered guilty pleas to first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two teachers at his school in La Loche, Saskatchewan and to second-degree murder in the deaths of two teenage brothers in the remote Dene community on Jan. 22.
Provincial court Judge Janet McIvor said the courts still need to determine if he should be sentenced as a youth or an adult. The maximum youth sentence for first-degree murder is 10 years in custody and an adult receives an automatic life sentence.
“I don’t need to tell everyone these charges are very serious, very tragic _ tragic for everyone involved in that region,” said McIvor.
Mass shootings are rare in Canada, which has stricter gun laws than the United States, and this was Canada’s worst mass shooting at a high school or elementary school. It is the country’s worst school shooting since the Ecole Polytechnique university massacre in Montreal in 1989, in which 15 people including the shooter died and another 14 were wounded.
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On Jan. 22, police responded to panicked calls from staff and students. Police said the shooter was inside the school for about eight minutes. The building’s main doors had been blasted with holes. Some students fled; others hid in fear.
Marie Janvier, 21, was killed as she ran to get help. She had graduated from the same school two years earlier and it was her first year working there as an aide. Teacher Adam Wood of Uxbridge, Ontario, had also just started his job at the beginning of the school year. The 35-year-old was shot and died of his wounds in a hospital.
Shortly after the shooting, officers were called to another crime scene in a nearby home where two brothers, Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, were found dead. At the time of the shooting, the teen’s friends described him as the black sheep of his family and a victim of bullying at school. One person said the teen was often teased about his large ears.