July 25th, 2024

Five people, including shooter, dead after shootings in Sault Ste. Marie, police say

By Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press on October 24, 2023.

Five people ““ including three children and a shooter ““ were found dead in the northern Ontario city of Sault Ste. Marie after shootings at two homes, police said Tuesday, calling what happened a tragic case of intimate partner violence.

Sault Ste. Marie police said the shootings that took place Monday night had left the community in deep mourning.

“The grief the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims are facing is unimaginable. Our hearts go out to them,” Chief Hugh Stevenson wrote in a statement.

“As our community grieves this tragedy, I urge everyone to please watch out for each other.”

Police said the shootings were not random acts of violence and there was no ongoing risk to public safety. They also said they would not be releasing the names of the victims or the accused because it was an intimate partner violence case.

Police were alerted to the shootings late Monday night, they said.

Officers first discovered the body of a 41-year-old around 10:20 p.m. after someone called to report a break-and-enter at a home, the force said.

The shooter appeared to have fled and about 10 minutes later, police received another call for someone with a weapon at a home about three kilometres north from the previous residence.

Police said they found three children ““ aged six, seven and 12 ““ dead in that second home and a 45-year-old who was injured with a gunshot wound.

They said officers also found the 44-year-old shooter, who appeared to have died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tyson Jikinosky, who works at an auto repair in the neighbourhood, said there was still a visible police presence in the area on Tuesday morning.

He said he learned of what happened by reading the news and said it came as a shock.

“It’s a really, really, really ugly, ugly scenario,” he said. “I live a few blocks away. It’s pretty small town, so we’re all pretty close.”

The Algoma District School Board said it was mourning the loss of three students in Sault Ste. Marie.

“The entire Algoma District School Board community is heartbroken,” the board’s director of education, Lucia Reece, wrote in a statement.

“Counsellors and support staff have been put in place at schools impacted by this tragedy … Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected.”

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Matthew Shoemaker called what happened “an unspeakable tragedy.”

“There are no words to adequately address such a tremendous loss,” he wrote in a statement.

“I extend our community’s collective condolences and support to the family and loved ones of the victims … We grieve with them as we try to reckon with this inconceivable act of violence.”

The mayor called Sault Ste. Marie a “strong and caring community,” and encouraged residents to support each other.

Premier Doug Ford said the news out of Sault Ste. Marie was “gut wrenching.”

“This senseless loss of life has left family, friends and an entire community grieving,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “All of Ontario mourns this tragedy.”

Police spokesman Lincoln Louttit said investigators had learned more about the shooter through witnesses who came forward.

“It’s crucial to the community that we let them know that this tragic event had taken place. But we also need to make sure that the investigation can continue and as as well protect other victims that are involved,” Louttit said.

“We’re not going to be providing any other details with the investigation at this point.”

Officers were at the scene at both homes on Tuesday, police said, and the investigation remained underway.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

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