A moment of silence will be held for the victims of the La Loche Community School shooting on Friday January 29 at 9 a.m., the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to visit the 3,000-person town and adjoining reserve.
First Nation schools all around Saskatchewan province will also lower their flags to half-staff all day “to show solidarity, unity and support for the students, teachers and staff at the La Loche Community School and the community’s of La Loche/Clearwater River Dene Nation,” the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) said in a press release, adding that all schools were invited to do so across the country.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, families and community members who are dealing with the devastating effects of last Friday’s tragedy,” said Chief Bobby Cameron in the statement. “We want to keep the memory of the people who have passed away in our hearts and mind.”
Trudeau said he was eager to reach out.
“Looking forward to meeting the families and supporting a community that’s obviously had a terrible, terrible week,” Trudeau told reporters, according to CBC News. “We’ll stand with them today, tomorrow, for weeks and months to come.”
Trudeau was attending the Davos Economic Forum on January 22 when a 17-year-old gunman killed two teen brothers, then shot his way into mostly indigenous La Loche Community School, killed a teacher and an aide, and wounded seven others.
The suspect, who cannot be named under Canadian law, is charged with four counts of murder in the deaths of Dayne Fontaine, 17; Drayden Fontaine, 13; teacher’s aide Marie Janvier, 21, and teacher Adam Wood, 35. In addition he faces seven counts of attempted murder.
Meanwhile, more than five communities held roadside candlelight vigils on Tuesday night as a procession of cars passed by in honor of Janvier, wending its way about 375 miles between Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan, CBC News reported. A local radio station broadcast the motorcade’s position so people knew when it would pass, and an ambulance in the lineup played “Amazing Grace.”
On Wednesday January 27 La Loche, was grieving and needed privacy, Acting Mayor Kevin Janvier said. He had at first been told that his daughter died in the shooting, but later found out it was another Marie Janvier, The Globe and Mail reported. Classes have yet to resume.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received over the last few days,” Janvier said in a statement quoted by The Star. “As we continue to grieve, we ask the media to please respect our privacy.”
Condolences poured in from indigenous communities throughout Canada, such as the one from the Anishinabek Nation.
“It saddened me to hear about this tragedy on Friday,” said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee in a statement on January 25. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and also to the community as a whole. My hope is that all levels of government will help out with the systemic issues in La Loche. There is a lot of healing to be done.”