5 dead, including 3 children, in intimate partner violence in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. | #schoolsaftey

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Sault Ste. Marie police are investigating after a total of five people, including three children, were found dead at two homes in the northern Ontario city on Monday night.

Police said in a news release they responded to a 911 call at 10:20 p.m. and found a 41-year-old dead of a gunshot wound at the 200 block of Tancred Street.

Ten minutes later, officers responded to a second call, at a residence on Second Line East, where they found a 45-year-old who was injured by a gunshot wound.

Police found a six-year-old, seven-year-old and 12-year-old who had all been shot and killed. They also found a 44-year-old who was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Deaths connected, police say

Police said the deaths at both locations are connected and were the result of intimate partner violence.

“Our community is once again faced with the tragic and unnecessary loss of life,” said Sault Ste. Marie police Chief Hugh Stevenson in a 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.”

WATCH |  Anger and shock in Sault Ste. Marie after 5 shot and killed in one family:

3 children, 2 adults shot to death in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Featured VideoWarning: This story contains distressing details | Five people, including three children, were shot and killed Monday at two homes in the northern Ontario city of Sault Ste. Marie. Police say the deaths at both locations were the result of intimate partner violence.

‘We need to take care of each other’

Stevenson told CBC News he has never seen that level of violence in the community as a result of intimate partner violence.

“This is not consistent with Sault Ste. Marie,” he said.

Stevenson said that following the deaths, it’s important for people in the community to be proactive and recognize if their friends, family members or co-workers need help.

“The message to the community is pretty straightforward, and that is we need to take care of each other,” he said.

“All of us across Canada need to do more to take care of each other, and hopefully that awareness, that proactive mentality gets people the services that they need.”

Stevenson added he’s a firm believer that domestic violence needs to be seen in a different light.

“When we label it as an epidemic, I do believe it draws more attention to the issue,” he said.

Matthew Shoemaker speaks into a microphone
Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Matthew Shoemaker says he extends the community’s condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed. (Erik White/CBC)

In a statement, Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said “there are no words to adequately address such a tremendous loss.”

Shoemaker extended the community’s collective condolences and support to the families and loved ones of the victims.

“Together, as a community, we stand with them and with our brave first responders,” Shoemaker said.

“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.”

Shoemaker told CBC News Network it was difficult for him to even comprehend “that there could be such cruelty in the world.”

“I I did what I think probably most parents did this morning, which is just hugged my kids a little tighter and just offered whatever support I could to the entire community,” he said, holding back tears.

School board mourns loss of 3 students

In a statement, Algoma District School Board director of education Lucia Reece said the school community is “heartbroken” as it mourns the loss of three students.

“Counsellors and support staff have been put in place at schools impacted by this tragedy,” Reece said in the statement.

“We appreciate families and community members minimizing calls to schools during this time. Families at impacted sites will be receiving information later today [Tuesday] on how to access additional supports if needed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this tragic incident.”

In an updated statement Reece said the children attended Boreal French Immersion Public School and Superior Heights high school.

A woman standing outside, wearing a black T-shirt.
Sault Ste. Marie resident Susie Beach says she knew one of the children killed Monday, along with their family. (Bienvenu Senga/Radio-Canada)

‘It’s evil. It’s sickening’

Sault Ste. Marie resident Susie Beach told CBC News she was in complete shock when she heard about the shootings.

“It’s evil. It’s sickening,” she said.

Beach said she knew one of the children who was killed as well as their family.

Because Sault Ste. Marie feels like a small town, she said, everyone she knows has been affected by the news.

“Everybody feels it,” Beach said.

“And even if you don’t know the person, it’s a small town. You care, you have empathy. You can’t imagine what they’re [the families] even going through.”

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