One of the men found dead at a Gatineau, Que., daycare on Friday was shot in the daycare's nursery, where five toddlers were present, multiple police sources told Radio-Canada.
Police have officially revealed little about happened Friday morning at the daycare at 225 and 229 Gamelin St., other than to say they received a call at 10:27 a.m. ET that a man was threatening people, and that when they arrived, they found the bodies of two men who had been shot dead.
Police revealed the identity of one of the men as Robert Charron, whose wife is director of the daycare. Police say Charron and his wife were in the midst of a separation, but would not confirm whether or not he was the shooter. Police also said there was no evidence to suggest the shooting was the result of a love triangle.
The second victim, who police now say is a 38-year-old French citizen, worked at the daycare as a custodian, according to the daycare operator.
The victim's family, who live in France, learned the news Saturday morning, but Gatineau police said they will not be releasing his name at this time.
Police said the bodies of the two men were found in separate buildings, and that a shotgun was used in the incident.
Employee shot in nursery
Police sources familiar with the case confirmed to Radio-Canada a number of details about how the incident unfolded.
They said the gunman first entered the daycare building of the nursery, where five children under the age of 18 months were present. It was here, they said, that the employee at the daycare was shot.
The gunman then moved to the second building, where staff care for 48 children between the ages of 18 months and five years. Police said he tried to kill the director of the centre, but she managed to escape.
The shooter then entered an empty room and took his own life, out of sight of the children, police sources said.
Children, staff, fled to neighbouring home
The daycare's children and staff were quickly led to the house of neighbour Louise Robitaille, their normal destination for fire drills.
On Friday morning, Robitaille said she knew something was wrong.
"They were sent outside without coats because they didn't have time to put them in coats," said Robitaille. "So they were crying and they were cold, that's for sure."
The children stopped crying after they were given books to read and the adults gave them hugs and sat down with them, Robitaille said.
She said she didn't know if any of the children actually witnessed the shootings or saw the man enter the building, though she said one boy seemed to understand the situation.
'The chase man, he didn't find us'
"He said, 'You know the chase man, he didn't find us,'" said Robitaille, referring to chasseur, the French word for hunter.
The daycares are located in houses across the street from the Hull Hospital. Hospital staff brought trolleys with lunches — a sandwich, a cookie, a yoghurt and a juice said Robitaille — to the children as they waited for their parents.
Parents were asked to wait at a bus while police gathered the children, so Robitaille could not see how they were handling the situation.
One parent Friday evening said she could not believe the knot in her stomach as she waited to see her child. By 5:30 p.m., Robitaille said all of the children had been picked up by their parents.
Police said if people are in shock and need psychological help, they can contact the Centre for Victims of Crime at 819-778-3555 and its 24/7 Help Centre at 819 595-9999.
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