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Saskatchewan stabbings: Second suspect dead after days on run following mass attack killing 10

Damien and Myles Sanderson, who are both still considered suspects in the Saskatchewan stabbings, died before being brought to justice

Johanna Chisholm,Graeme Massie
Thursday 08 September 2022 23:38 BST
10 dead and 18 injured in mass stabbings across Saskatchewan, Canada

The second suspect in the stabbing spree that killed 10 and wounded 18 people across rural Canada over the weekend has died from self-inflicted wounds after his truck was run off the road by police.

An official told the Associated Press that Myles Sanderson, 32, died after being captured around 3.30pm CST on Wednesday near the town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan.

Earlier Royal Canadian Mounted Police released the names of the 10 people who were killed during the Saskatchewan stabbings, who ranged in age from 23 to 78.

One day earlier, Damien Sanderson, 31, the second suspect and brother of Myles, was found dead from wounds that did not appear to be self-inflicted, police said.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said during a press conference on Wednesday night that with the deaths of both Myles and Damien, who she noted was still considered a suspect, the motive behind the carnage that unfolded on Sunday may never be known.

“His motivation may, at this time and forever, may only be known to Myles,” she said.


Investigation into parole board’s decision to release Myles Sanderson will be done, safety minister says

ICYMI: Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino confirmed that an investigation will be conducted into a parole board’s February 2022 decision to release Myles Sanderson from minimum security incarceration.

“I am assured that the Parole Board of Canada will be undertaking an investigation of the decision,” Mr Mendicino told reporters in Vancouver, according to CBC. “I think the process for a review begins there, but it certainly does not end at that point.”

In August 2021, Myles Sanderson was transferred to a healing lodge but that release was suspended in November after he reportedly broke his probation by lying to his probation officer.

In February 2022, the board cancelled that suspension and ruled that the 30-year-old’s original release should be upheld, noting in the decision, which came just seven months before the deadly stabbing attacks unfolded, that he doesn’t “present an undue risk to society”.

“There will be an appropriate time and a place to review policy and resourcing and we need to embrace that review, we need to be transparent with Canadians to make sure that this kind of thing never happens again,” he said.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 15:02

Candlelit vigils held across Saskatchewan to remember victims of deadly attacks

Vigils were held throughout Saskatchewan on Wednesday night, hours after residents of the prairie province had learned that the remaining suspect that set off a days-long manhunt had been arrested and died shortly after.

“The fire you’re carrying symbolizes the soul, the spirit, the fire within those that have gone,” said Elder Dennis Omeasoo in his opening remarks at a vigil held at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported.

“The saddest time of the day is in the evening, they say, so showing your compassion and your empathy helps us to see and share his story for the benefit of our brothers and sisters,” he added.

About 370km north of that vigil, residents in Prince Albert lit candles and gathered for sombre reflection of the lives lost this week in what family members and friends of the victims have characterised as a senseless act of violence.

In Saskatoon, another vigil was held.

In Prince Albert, Chief Wally Burns of James Smith Cree Nation joined the 200 attendees and spoke publicly for the first time since the massacre unfolded.

“I’m holding back a lot of hurt, a lot of anger… I wish this was just a dream, but it’s not,” said Burns.

He added that on Thursday morning there would be another vigil scheduled, this time at Bernard Constant Community School in James Smith Cree Nation starting at 11am local time.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 15:33

Investigators conducted more than 150 interviews with witnesses and victims, RCMP say

The RCMP described the magnitude of the investigation that resulted in Myles Sanderson’s arrest on Wednesday afternoon as “immense”, tapping into the resources of over 160 Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario RCMP in addition to other municipal partner agency employees.

Since Sunday, the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Divisional Emergency Operations Center (DEOC) “has been staffed 24 hours a day with a combination of police officer and civilian employees”.

Of what the RCMP were able to disclose during the briefing, this week officers employed with the Canadian authorities have conducted over 150 interviews with witnesses and victims, completed 400 investigative tasks, issued 11 emergency alerts to notify the public, met with community members and continued to provide support services to work with families and victims, taking a trauma-informed approach to ensure survivors are cared for, the force said.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 16:15

Suspect stole first aid kit stolen on Sunday, RCMP say

The RCMP confirmed that their suspicion that Myles Sanderson was injured after the attacks on Sunday came from the fact that he’d stolen a first aid kid from a vehicle in Weldon.

“Which would indicate that he had some injuries and was trying to seek some sort of treatment for himself,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore during a press conference delivered on Wednesday night

Officers would not confirm if Narcan, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids, had been used on Myles Sanderson when he was found in medical distress after being brought into custody on Wednesday.

The force did confirm that there were no drugs found on first search inside the stolen vehicle that the suspect was arrested in, but could not speak to if drugs were found on him.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 16:45

Victims’ families and friends breathe collective ‘sigh of relief' as healing begins

When the news broke that one of the suspects involved in the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon stabbings was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, the communities who had been put on edge for four days began to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

“Our province is breathing a collective sigh of relief,” Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of Saskatchewan RCMP, said at a press conference after Myles Sanderson’s arrest on Wednesday night.

Before it had been announced that the 32-year-old suspect had died while in police custody, victims’ family members began to share the profound weight that had been lifted off their shoulders with the news that he was no longer a threat to their tightknit communities.

“It’s a huge relief,” said Darryl Burns, whose sister Gloria was among those killed, in an interview with the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “Nobody is going to get hurt anymore,” added Herbert Burns.

“Now we can start to heal. The healing begins today … My boy survived the attack and hopefully can sleep at night now … He was having rough sleeps at night knowing he was still out there. Hopefully he can get some rest now,” said Brian Burns, who had a wife and son among the dead and another son who was injured, in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“Now people can start to feel safe again, but also now is the time for healing to begin,” said Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand, whose sister and nephew were killed in the attacks. “There is a lot of trauma that will need to be dealt with and the victims will need our continued support. This is just the start.”

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 17:20

First Nations leaders to speak on attacks at James Smith Cree Nation

Saskatchewan First Nations leaders are expected to address the attacks that took place on James Smith Cree Nation on Sunday during a press briefing on Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after Myles Sanderson was arrested by RCMP and then died in their custody.

The news conference is scheduled to begin at 11am CST and speakers who are expected to speak include James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns, providing one of his first public addresses since the tragedy unfolded in northern Saskatchewan, Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte of Prince Albert Grand Council and Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 17:45

Media begin showing up for James Smith Cree Nation news conference and prayer ceremony

The news conference being held at James Smith Cree Nation, the first of its kind since the crime scenes at the First Nation began to be opened back up to community members, is scheduled to begin in minutes.

It’s scheduled to begin at 11am CST.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 18:11

Watch the James Smith Cree Nation news conference

The news conference being held at James Smith Cree Nation is getting underway within the hour.

You can watch the press conference being held at the First Nations community for the first time since the tragedy unfolded there on Sunday here, with CTV Regina.

A news conference and prayer ceremony is being held on 8 September 2022, four days after Saskatchewan’s deadliest mass killing event unfolded in the small northern community of James Smith Cree Nation
A news conference and prayer ceremony is being held on 8 September 2022, four days after Saskatchewan’s deadliest mass killing event unfolded in the small northern community of James Smith Cree Nation (CTV Regina/video screengrab)
Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 18:27

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, First Nations leaders in attendance at James Smith Cree Nation briefing

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is among the official leaders attending the news briefing being held at James Smith Cree Nation on Thursday morning, CBC reported.

“We’ll hear from Chief Wally Burns, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron and other community leaders. Family members of the deceased are sitting at the front. RCMP officers are here at the press conference,” tweeted CBC’s reported on the ground Devin Heroux.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, he added, was also in attendance.

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 18:45

On Wednesday afternoon, after a nearly four-day manhunt across the prairie province, the second suspect in the stabbing spree, Myles Sanderson, 32, died from self-inflicted wounds after his truck was run off the road by police.

Earlier that day, Saskatchewan RCMP released the names of all the victims killed in the brazen Sunday morning attacks, noting that they represented a mix of those chosen at random and some specifically targeted.

The individuals who died ranged in age from 23 to 78 and they include: Thomas Burns, Carol Burns, Gregory Burns, Lydia Gloria Burns, Bonnie Burns, Earl Burns, Lana Head, Christian Head, and Robert Sanderson of the James Smith Cree Nation, and Wesley Petterson of Weldon.

Read their stories below:

‘Random’ victims of Saskatchewan stabbings named by police

‘No one in this town is ever going to sleep again,’ niece of 78-year-old victim says

Johanna Chisholm8 September 2022 19:35

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