La Loche shooter asked for gift to mark anniversary of shooting that killed four
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MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A teen gunman who killed four people in northern Saskatchewan asked if he was getting a gift to mark the anniversary of the shooting.
The teen pleaded guilty to killing two brothers at their home in La Loche in January 2016, before gunning down a teacher and a teacher's aide and wounding seven others at the high school.
A hearing is underway to determine if the teen, who was just shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the shooting, should serve time as a youth or an adult.
A pre-sentence report tabled in court details how the teen asked staff at a Saskatoon youth detention facility "if they were buying him a gift" on the one-year anniversary.
Corrections worker Tanis Fidler, who wrote the report, said it wasn't clear if the remark was made as a joke.
The teen "was quite detailed" when he recalled the shooting, she told court Friday.
"He was able to explain, tell me where he was, what happened, what he was thinking when he woke up that morning, what happened during the day, what happened at the school prior, once he got home from school," said Fidler.
"He was very detailed."
The Crown asked if the teen justified the school shooting.
"No," said Fidler.
The teen told Fidler that shooting the brothers, Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, was not part of the plan and that he felt remorse for their deaths. However, he did not say anything about the victims of the school shooting, she told court.
Fidler also wrote in the report that if the teen hears about a mass shooting or a terrorist attack, he "often talks about the issue with a smile on his face, until he's corrected by staff."
Court heard that Fidler spoke with one of the teen's teachers while preparing the sentencing report and the teacher said she believed the teen "slipped through the cracks of the school system."
Defence lawyer Aaron Fox noted that the teen was about to fail Grade 10 for the third time.
Fox read part of the report out loud in court. It said that the teen told Fidler that after shooting Dayne and Drayden, he thought: "What the f--k am I doing? What the f--k did I just do? Describing it like a bad dream."
The teen contemplated suicide on the day of the shooting when he was cornered by police in a bathroom at the school, but he couldn't go through with it, Fidler said.
"He told me he didn't want to make his mom sad."
Court also heard from Christopher Hales, the teen's case worker at the detention centre in Saskatoon, who said his academic and social skills have improved since entering the facility in February 2016. Hales said the difference "is night and day."
"Socially, he's come a long way," said Hales.
Hales also said the teen still struggles at bedtime because he's "upset, emotional" about shooting the Fontaine brothers and has "thoughts and feelings talking about self harm, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness."
Court has already been shown a videotaped police interview with the teen in which he says he didn't plan to shoot the two brothers. He told officers his plan was to go to the school and shoot some kids.
Fox has said there is no simple reason behind the shooting and little about the motive has been made clear so far. But he said the video shows that his client has some cognitive, social and developmental issues.
Fidler said the teen told her that he wants to stay in the youth system.
He could get six years of custody and four years of probation, if sentenced as a youth.
"Normally, when someone reaches the age of 20, they get transferred to an adult facility for the balance of their sentence. There are exceptions to that, but special applications have to be made," Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang explained outside court Friday.
Some victims have already told court that the teen should be sentenced as an adult because of the severity of the crime.
But Dayne and Drayden's mother, Alicia Fontaine, told the hearing Thursday that if it were up to her, she would not press charges in the deaths of her sons.
She said the teen gunman called her two days after the shooting to apologize and she forgave him.
The hearing has been adjourned until June, when the Crown will wrap up its case and the defence will present its side.