A shooting left 2 people dead at a day care in Quebec in what police are calling a murder-suicide.
The incident unfolded on Friday when police were called with a report of a man armed with a shotgun threatening people. By the time they arrived to the day care there were already 2 dead, a man with a shotgun beside him and an unidentified employee of the day care. Both had been shot.
The bodies were found in different parts of the Racines De Vie Montessori day care, which is separated into two homes.
The 911 call and shooting sparked fears among Canadians that there could be a repeat of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But in this case police found the children safe at a nearby house.
For many parents, the uncertainty of waiting to see if their children were safe was still excruciating.
“It was horrible,” said Omar Eltalawi, whose 3-year-old daughter attends the day care. “You see these things on the news and you don’t expect it to happen to you.”
Gatineau Police Chief Mario Harel said the shooting appeared to be related to a recent separation between a couple, but he didn’t give any more details on the motive or how the shooting took place. Police said the gunman used a high-caliber hunting rifle.
Police said it was likely that many of the children saw the 2 men shot dead at the day care.
“It’s a small area, it’s a close space,” said Harel. “For sure, they should have been witness (to) the event.”
Though a series of high-profile shootings in the United States, including the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have sparked a debate about gun control, such incidents are extremely rare in Canada. The nation has tighter restrictions on guns and fewer gun owners, making the shooting that left 2 dead at the day care center that much more uncommon.