Weldon, Sep 6: One of the suspects in the stabbing deaths of 10 people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has been found dead, and his injuries are not self inflicted, police said Monday as they continued the search for a second suspect.
Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead near the stabbing sites and they believe his brother, Myles Sanderson, 30, is injured, on the run and likely in the provincial capital of Regina. It was the first time police have identified the two as brothers.
“His body was located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined. We can confirm he has visible injuries. These injuries are not believed to be self inflicted at this point,” said RCMP Commanding Officer Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, adding they were not sure of the exact cause of death yet.
Asked if Myles Sanderson was responsible for his brother’s death, Blackmore said police are investigating that possibility, but “we can’t say that definitively at this point in time.?
The discovery of the body came on the second day of a massive manhunt for the pair, who are suspected of carrying out a series of stabbings in an Indigenous community and a nearby town, which also left 18 people injured. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the nation’s history.
Authorities have said some of the victims were targeted and others appeared to have been chosen at random on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the town of Weldon in Saskatchewan. They have given no motive for the crimes— but senior Indigenous leaders suggested drugs were somehow involved.
While authorities believe Myles is in Regina, about 335 kilometers (210 miles) south of where the stabbings happened, they have issued alerts in Canada’s three vast prairie provinces — which also include Manitoba and Alberta — and contacted U.S. border officials.
With one suspect still at large, fear still gripped communities in the rural, working class area of Saskatchewan surrounded by farmland that were terrorized by the crimes. One witness who said he lost family members described seeing people with bloody wounds scattered throughout the Indigenous reserve.
“No one in this town is ever going to sleep again. They’re going to be terrified to open their door,” said Ruby Works, who also lost someone close to her and is a resident of Weldon, which has a population of about 200 and is home to many retirees.
As the Labor Day holiday weekend drew to a close Monday, police urged Saskatchewan residents who were returning from trips away to look for suspicious activity around their homes before entering.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the pair of suspects and both men faced at least one count each of murder and attempted murder. More charges were expected.
Police have given few details about the men. Last May, Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers issued a wanted list that included Myles Sanderson, writing that he was “unlawfully at large.”
While the manhunt continued, police also issued a provincewide alert for suspects in a shooting on the Witchekan Lake First Nation. Officials said the shooting was not believed to be connected to the stabbings, but such alerts are unusual and the fact that a second occurred while authorities were already scouring the Saskatchewan for the stabbing suspects was notable.
The stabbing attack was among the deadliest mass killings in Canada, where such crimes are less common than in the United States. The deadliest gun rampage in Canadian history happened in 2020, when a man disguised as a police officer shot people in their homes and set fires across the province of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people. In 2019, a man used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto.
Deadly mass stabbings are rarer than mass shootings, but have happened around the world. In 2014, 29 people were slashed and stabbed to death at a train station in China’s southwestern city of Kunming. In 2016, a mass stabbing at a facility for the mentally disabled in Sagamihara, Japan, left 19 people dead. A year later, three men killed eight people in a vehicle and stabbing attack at London Bridge.
Police in Saskatchewan got their first call about a stabbing at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday, and within minutes heard about several more. In all, dead or wounded people were found at 13 different locations on the sparsely populated reserve and in the town, Blackmore said. James Smith Cree Nation is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Weldon. (AP)