La Loche Community School shooting
La Loche Community school announced 'an emergency' in the secondary school building in a Facebook post

Five people are confirmed dead following a school shooting in Saskatchewan, Canada. On Friday 22 January, a gunman was said to have entered the La Loche Community School, in a remote town about 600 kilometres north of Saskatoon, and opened fire.

It is unclear whether staff members or students were amongst the victims. The suspect has been taken into custody by the police. The shooting is no longer active.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau held a news conference after the shootings. He confirmed that there were five fatalities and two people were critically injured and the suspect is in custody.

Trudeau said: "Obviously this is every parent's worst nightmare.The country's heart is breaking for the people of La Loche, Saskatchewan, today.

"We all grieve with and stand with the community of La Loche and Saskatchewan on this terrible day. Police have informed me that the situation is under control."

Canada school shooting
The school is in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche Google maps

Earlier, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reported that they were responding to a "serious situation" at the La Loche Community School. The school said on their Facebook page: "There is currently an emergency occurring at the Dene Building and we are asking the public to stay away while the matter is resolved by the RCMP. The elementary school is also under a lock down which will not be lifted until we hear that it is safe from the La Loche RCMP. We will not be allowing anyone in or out until we have a clear idea of what is going on."

The school has around 900 students from kindergarten through to grade 12 the community of La Loche has around 3,000 residents. The "emergency" is said to be happening at the Dene Building, for older students. A nurse at a local hospital confirmed that a number of people were being treated for gunshot wounds.

"The community usually pulls together really strong in times like this. Right now, La Loche is devastated," said Clearwater River Dene Nation Chief Teddy Clark on Friday to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. "Both Clearwater and La Loche, a lot of people are in shock. This is something that you only see on TV most of the time."

One of the students that was trapped inside the school as the gunman entered was Noel Desjarlais, he told CBC News: "I ran outside the school. There was lots of screaming. There was about six, seven shots before I got outside.

"I believe there was more shots by the time I did get out. Myself I'm fine. I ended up running and telling people get out the doors."

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall issued a statement on the shooting saying: "Words cannot express my shock and sorrow at the horrific events today in La Loche. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends and all the people of the community."

Compared to the neighbouring US mass-shootings are relatively rare. In the country's worst school shooting, 14 college students were killed in Montreal at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.

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