By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - At least two people were killed in a school shooting in a remote part of Saskatchewan, Canada, on Friday and a student is in custody, the aboriginal chief in the area told Canadian media.
Police said there was a "serious incident" in La Loche, which is about 600 km (375 miles) from the city of Saskatoon, but declined to give more details.
La Loche Acting Mayor Kevin Janvier said that police confirmed to him that one person was in custody, the Canadian Press reported.
“I’m not 100 percent sure what’s actually happened but it started at home and ended at the school," Janvier said.
Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, which has stricter gun laws than the United States. In the country's worst school shooting, 14 college students were killed at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.
A hospital nurse said a number of people were being treated for gunshot wounds, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The La Loche Health Centre and Hospital declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
"We're just trying to pull together here and make sense of all this," Teddy Clark, chief of Clearwater River Dene Nation told CBC television. "It's not a very pretty scene right now."
La Loche Grade 10 student Noel Desjarlais told the CBC that he heard multiple shots fired at the school.
"I ran outside the school," Desjarlais said. "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."
A cellphone video taken by one resident and broadcast by the CBC showed students walking away from the school through the snow-covered ground and emergency personal moving in.
La Loche Community School is a pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 school, which houses about 900 students in two buildings.
There was an emergency at the building that houses grades 7 to 12, the school district's Facebook page said. Both that building and the elementary school were put on lockdown.
In 2014, a teacher expressed concern about violence at the La Loche school, citing an incident where a student who had tried to stab her was put back in her classroom after serving his sentence, and another attacked her at her home.
"That student got 10 months," Janice Wilson told the CBC of the student who tried to stab her in class. "And when he was released he was returned to the school and was put in my classroom."
(Additional reporting by Susan Taylor and Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Grant McCool)