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Canadian stabbing suspect target of intense manhunt

Three days after brutal attacks throughout Saskatchewan, remaining suspect subject of intense manhunt

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Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore speaks next to images of Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson during a press conference.

Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore speaks next to images of Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson during a press conference at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “F” Division headquarters in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022.

Michael Bell, The Canadian Press via Associated Press

A manhunt is currently underway for the remaining suspect in Sunday’s series of stabbings that have left 11 dead and 19 injured in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan, as reported by the Regina Leader-Post. This is among one of the deadliest attacks in Canada’s history. 

The body of one of the suspects, Damien Sanderson, 31, was found on Monday morning at around 11:30, in a grassy area of a home on the James Cree Nation that the RCMP were searching as part of the investigation.

According to the CBC, Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, told reporters that Sanderson’s wounds do not appear to be self-inflicted. His exact cause of death will be determined by Saskatchewan’s coroner’s office.

Per the The Regina Leader-Post, police will count Sanderson as a suspect in the mass killing until proven otherwise. 

Manhunt underway for remaining suspect

An intense search is underway for his brother Myles Sanderson, 30. Sanderson has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of breaking and entering. It is not known whether he was responsible for Damien Sanderson’s death or not.

Police have reason to believe that Myles Sanderson may be injured and seeking medical attention. “Even if he is injured, it does not mean he is not still dangerous,” Blackmore cautioned.

The Sandersons are counted among the number of dead and injured.

Myles Sanderson reportedly had a long criminal history, per CBC, though no charges for homicide were on his record. 

At 11:45 a.m., Tuesday, the RCMP sent out an emergency alert update confirming that they were responding to a possible sighting of Myles Sanderson. No other information has been released to the public. Before the 11:45 alert, there have been no credible sightings of Myles Sanderson since Sunday morning, when an eyewitness spotted him driving a black Nissan Rouge with Saskatchewan license plate 119 MP1 in Regina.

Killings shocked small, tightknit communities

The killings have left shock all across Canada, and devastated the tightknit communities of the James Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon where the attacks took place. In Weldon, a farming village that covers less than one square mile, many residents are locking their doors for the first time. 

“No one in this town is going to sleep again. They’re going to be terrified to open their door,” said Ruby Works, a Weldon resident who was a close friend to one of the victims. 

“Last night, I locked my doors for the first time, but it was only because my 12-year-old asked me to,” April Audette told The New York Times

Darryl Burns talked to the Regina Leader-Post about his sister Gloria Burns, one of the victims. Gloria worked in counseling and trauma response on the James Cree Nation. She was killed after responding to calls for aid Sunday morning. “She died helping people,” Darryl said. 

One of those killed in Weldon was retired widower Wes Petterson, 77. His adult grandson was in the basement at the time of the attack and phoned police. Petterson’s neighbor William Works, 47, described for The Associated Press a gentle, kind man who loved gardening, canning and baking. “He would give you the shirt off his back.” Every morning Petterson would make coffee for the local senior center. 

William’s mother, Sharon Works, 64, continued, “I don’t understand why they would target someone like him anyway, because he was just a poor, helpless little man, 100 pounds soaking wet. And he could hardly breathe because he had asthma and emphysema and everybody cared about him because that’s the way he was. He cared about everybody else. And they cared about him.” 

Burns hoped that the incident would bring attention to issues with the Indigenous community of Canada, and, per the Regina Leader-Post, “would inspire action and not just platitudes from policymakers.” Burns told the newspaper, “I want the world to know and Canada to know that in every Native community across Canada there are good people. This is a random act of violence. … I know deep down we need healing and forgiveness. That’s one of the things my sister taught. And that’s one of the things I will carry out in her name.” 

On the James Cree Nation, grieving community members have been gathering together at a convenience store and gas station. 

The Weldon Christian Tabernacle Church opened its Sunday service with a prayer for the victims and affected families. 

On Labor Day, a scheduled football game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers went ahead at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, with additional security. 

Returning from Labor Day weekend, Northwest and Horizon School divisions will be in a “hold and secure mode” where classes continue with the outside doors locked, and recess and lunch held inside. 

University of Regina’s main campus lowered its flag to half-mast and is operating with campus security “aware and alert.”

The Regina Leader-Post reports that as of Monday afternoon, 13 of the people injured in the violence were still in hospitals around Saskatchewan. Four had already been allowed to return home. Of the 13, four were in critical condition and nine were stable.