MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A child psychiatrist says it’s not clear why a teen killed four people and injured seven in a shooting that devastated the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche in January 2016.
Dr. Declan Quinn, who met with the teen four times, testified for the Crown as a court hearing resumed Tuesday to determine whether the teen will be sentenced as an adult or a youth.
“I’m as puzzled now as I was the first day I met him,” Quinn said.
The teen pleaded guilty last fall to killing two brothers in a home in La Loche before shooting up the school where a teacher and an aide died.
Quinn told court that the teen “did not come across as being clearly developmentally delayed or slow,” although his vocabulary wasn’t very good because of his poor educational progress.
“Throughout the time that I was talking with him, he always seemed to be alert and oriented,” said the doctor.
“He wanted to know why I’d come to see him. He interacted, for the most part, quite appropriately with me and seemed to be able to follow the conversation. At no time did he seem to be confused, mixed up or not understand what was going on when I was talking with him.”
Quinn said there’s no clear evidence that the teen was suicidal, although he described himself as “quite unhappy and quite depressed and very anxious.”
“He also expressed a terrible attitude towards school … and he did not like school.”
Quinn said he was concerned that the teen was preoccupied with school shootings in the United States, specifically in Columbine, but the youth didn’t want to talk about those shootings or his own.
“I couldn’t get any indication about why he wanted to do it, what led to it happening, but he seemed to have got it planned as how he was doing it and didn’t want to give me details.”
There were suggestions in the shooting’s aftermath that the teen had been bullied at school, but he told police that wasn’t the case.
The teen, who can’t be named because he was just under 18 at the time, has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
His lawyer, Aaron Fox, has said there isn’t a simple explanation for what happened, but added his client does have cognitive, social and developmental issues.
Fox noted Tuesday that the teen was in Grade 10 for the third time when the shooting occurred and numerous special tests in elementary school had all indicated problems.
Court has already heard details about the shooter’s murderous path from the home to the high school.
Brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, who had just played video games with the killer the night before, were gunned down first.
Dayne, 17, pleaded for his life and said “I don’t want to die” before he was shot 11 times, including twice in the head. Drayden, 13, was shot twice, including in the back of the head, after running into the shooter outside the house and being led inside.
The shooter then posted messages online: “Just killed 2 ppl,” and “Bout to shoot ip the school.”
Surveillance footage captured his frightening walk through the halls, his shotgun raised, as students and staff ran in fear. Teacher Adam Wood managed to call 911 before being shot. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
Teacher’s aide Marie Janvier was gunned down in a hallway when she ran to get help for a substitute teacher who was wounded.
When police arrived, the shooter ran into a women’s washroom where he put down his weapon and gave himself up.