The RCMP inspector who served as incident commander during the La Loche shooting is praising the many people whose actions helped save lives that day.
Sunday will mark one year since a 17-year-old boy shot and killed two brothers in a home in La Loche, before proceeding to nearby Dene High School, where he killed two more people and wounded seven others.
Insp. Teddy Munro said there were nine minutes between when the first calls came in and the arrest of the shooter.
The first officer to arrive went into the school alone and began searching the building, joined shortly afterwards by two more members, according to Munro.
“The fact that they ran into a building where there was an active shooter, you know what, I take my hat off to those guys every day. I see those guys as heroes. The courage they displayed is second to none,” he said.
Munro said the teen came out of a school bathroom unarmed and identified himself to the officers, who then handcuffed and arrested him.
“Then the search continued to determine if there were other shooters,” Muro said.
The commander said he was dispatched to La Loche from Prince Albert to take charge on the scene. He said the shooter had already been arrested and the school locked down by the time he rolled out.
Munro said his concerns during the drive largely focused around how to co-ordinate efforts in the wake of the shooting.
“There’s so many different parts: you’ve got to look at scene security, you’ve got to look at investigators, you have to look at the members that responded and their mental health,” he said.
Munro said there was also significant challenges around finding accommodation and meals for the more than 90 RCMP members who were brought in to work on the case.
He said he’s thankful for the professional response he received from officers.
“When you have the best members, who jump up, throw their hands in the air and arrive, that makes things very easy. And that day and the days after, I had that,” he said.
Beyond the RCMP response, Munro said there are countless others who deserve credit for their actions that day, from school and medical staff to students and community volunteers who all showed their best during and after the tragedy.
“Everybody there that responded, in whatever little part they played, made a huge difference in saving lives,” he said.
The 17-year-old shooter pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges in late October 2016. He is still awaiting sentencing, which has been tentatively scheduled for May 2017.