GUYSBOROUGH: A community is still in mourning following the loss of four lives.

On January 6, Antigonish RCMP confirmed four people passed away as a result of a triple homicide and suicide on January 3 in Upper Big Tracadie. While police have not confirmed any of the identities, it has been reported that the victims were 10-year-old Aaliyah Desmond, 52-year-old Brenda Desmond, 31-year-old Shanna Desmond, and 33-year-old Lionel Desmond.

Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, with the Nova Scotia RCMP’s media relations, opened the Januaryh 4 press conference in Antigonish.

As part of the investigation, reported the RCMP, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office conducted autopsies confirming all four individuals died as a result of gunshot wounds. Further investigation also confirmed Lionel’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted and, as a result, confirmed the incident was a triple homicide and suicide.

The community held funeral services for all four people last week. Also last week, the Lincolnville Hall hosted a spiritual care session on January 13, followed by a community reception with grief counseling at Tracadie United Baptist Church Community Centre the next day, and a special service at the Tracadie United Baptist Church and another community gathering on Sunday.

During a regular meeting of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough on January 11, council voted to offer up to $1,000 to cover the costs of refreshments at the community gatherings and grief sessions relating to the incident.

“We’ll do anything in our power to help the community, as well as the individual families,” said Warden Vernon Pitts.
“We’re partnering with the Department of Health and Wellness to do some grief counseling and spiritual work in the community. Now is the time to step back and hopefully let the families and the residents in our communities heal.”

Following the meeting, Pitts said the incident was devastating to the entire municipality. Council also took a moment of silence before the meeting and thanked staff and first responders for their work directly following the incident. Municipal staff provided food and beverages to first responders and made meeting spaces available when needed.

“At a time like this, we’re family and we’ve got to all pull together,” the warden added.