Sun. May 26th, 2024

WARNING: This article contains details about a fatal intimate partner violence case and may upset some readers.

Five people in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., are dead — including three children and the shooter — while one person is in hospital with gunshot wounds after intimate partner violence escalated into a shooting rampage at two homes, police say.

It started with a 911 call about someone breaking into a home in the 200 block of Tancred Street around 10:20 p.m. Monday, Sault Ste. Marie Police said in a news release.

Officers found a 41-year-old person deceased with a gunshot wound at the residence and the shooter fled prior to their arrival.

About 10 minutes later, another 911 call came in about someone with a gun at a home in the 200 block of Second Line East, about three kilometres away.

When officers arrived, they found a 45-year-old with a gunshot wound and sent them to hospital. No word on their condition.

Inside the home, officers found three children — ages six, seven and 12 — fatally shot along with the 44-year-old shooter, who was also found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The two incidents are connected and are the result of intimate partner violence, so the names of the accused and victims are not being released, Sault police said.

These are not random acts of violence and there is no ongoing risk to public safety, police added.

“Our community is once again faced with the tragic and unnecessary loss of life,” Sault police chief Hugh Stevenson is quoted as saying in the news release.

“The grief the families, friends and loved ones of the victims are facing is unimaginable. Our hearts go out to them. As our community grieves this tragedy, I urge everyone to please watch out for each other. If you are struggling, or if you see someone you know struggling, please make use of the mental health supports available in our community.”

In the wake of the tragedy, Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said on social media, “There are no words to adequately address such a tremendous loss as our community has experienced.”

“I extend our community’s collective condolences and support to the family and loved ones of the victims. Together, as a community, we stand with them and with our brave first responders,” Shoemaker said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We grieve with them as we try to reckon with this inconceivable act of violence. Sault Ste. Marie is a strong and caring community, and I encourage people to look out for one another and offer support during this incredibly challenging time.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered his prayers to those affected by the news.

“The news out of Sault Ste. Marie is gut wrenching,” Ford said in a post on X.

“This senseless loss of life has left family, friends and an entire community grieving. You are in my prayers. All of Ontario mourns this tragedy.”

The news out of Sault Ste. Marie is gut wrenching. This senseless loss of life has left family, friends and an entire community grieving.

You are in my prayers. All of Ontario mourns this tragedy. https://t.co/4XiWgYZ1X7

— Doug Ford (@fordnation) October 24, 2023

As the investigation continues, officers remain at both scenes. 

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is investigating at two homes, one on Second Line East (pictured), after intimate partner violence escalated into a shooting rampage that killed five people including three children. Oct. 24/23 (Mike McDonald/CTV Northern Ontario)

GROWING PROBLEM

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is also frequently known as domestic and spousal violence and is a prevalent form of gender-based violence.

The issue has been identified by the World Health Organization as a major public health concern that affects millions of people.

People of all genders, ages, socioeconomic, racial, educational, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds are affected by intimate partner violence, but women are often targeted by men in this type of violence.

Over the last three years, intimate partner violence occurrences in Sault Ste. Marie have decreased while the number of people charged has increased.

YEAR
CALLS
MEN CHARGED
WOMEN CHARGED

2020
1,673
261
45

2021
1,461
256
41

2022
1,351
279
60

 

SUPPORT AVAILABLE

Support is available for people experiencing violence. In an emergency, call 911.

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