Residents of Lund and throughout Powell River region are reeling after news of a double homicide that occurred in the small village during the early morning hours of Saturday, June 17.
According to a Powell River RCMP media release, officers were called due to reports of a shooting at a residence in the 1500 block of Scotch Place at 5:15 am.
Upon arrival, police discovered two occupants of the house were deceased and a third was injured.
Court documents confirm the two deceased victims are Braxton Leask, 20, and Dylan Buckle, 20, both of Powell River. Both young men graduated from Brooks Secondary School in 2014 and played soccer with Powell River Villa.
"Our thoughts go out to all of the families involved,” said Villa president Jamie Zroback. "Braxton and Dylan were a big part of our organization and tight-knit group. They were very loved and they are missed and they will not be forgotten.”
RCMP has named 19-year-old Jason Timothy Foulds of Powell River as the suspect in the shootings.
According to the court documents, Foulds has been charged with two counts of first degree murder. He has also been charged with one count of attempted murder for the shooting of Zane Hernandez, who sustained injuries and has since been released from Powell River General Hospital.
Foulds appeared before a justice of the peace the night of Saturday, June 17, and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Tuesday, June 27.
A neighbour who lives directly across the street from the crime scene said he heard shouting early Saturday morning coming from the house where the incident unfolded.
"Shortly after, first responders appeared and fire trucks arrived, followed by the ambulance and four RCMP cars," said Michael Saunders, who has lived in Lund for 30 years and said the village of approximately 300 residents is "devastated."
Saunders said a large police presence continued throughout the day, including a forensic team conducting an investigation at approximately 8 pm. Investigators began arriving at the house on Saturday night, he added.
RCMP stated teams that Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit and a forensic team had been called to assist Powell River RCMP in investigating what appears to be a targeted act. The forensic team will be at the crime scene for several more days, according to the RCMP statement.
Word of what happened quickly spread beyond Lund and rippled throughout the region.
Powell River Regional District chair Patrick Brabazon, who represents Lund on the district board, heard the news midday on Saturday.
"My initial reaction was probably fairly typical: shock and surprise," said Brabazon. "These sorts of things happen elsewhere. You read about them in the national press and on TV. They don't happen in your own community. This one did."
Brabazon said that while people in the community are extremely resilient, he is concerned about what effect this incident will have on youth.
"I am more concerned about the young people up there because these were youths," he said. "In a community like Lund, all the young people know all of the other young people. It's them who are going to have to deal with this the most."
Knowledge of the connection between the crime and young people of the region prompted School District 47 to make grief counselling available on Monday, June 19, for students who attend Brooks Secondary School, according to school district superintendent Jay Yule.
"This type of devastating incident rocks the foundation of our community," said Yule. "The district will ensure counsellors are available for students. Teachers and parents will be provided the support resources necessary to address the incident with students."
Brabazon said first responders will also receive all of the support needed to deal with any after-effects members have from the crime scene.
"It's not just the people involved in the incident," he said, "it's their families and beyond them to the whole community; it's just really sad for everyone."
Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons said he is saddened by the senseless loss of two lives and the irrevocable impact the tragedy will have on their families.
"The Sunshine Coast is known as being a tight-knit and peaceful place with strong community values," said Simons. "Right now our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected."