REGINA, Saskatchewan– A manhunt continued on Monday for two men suspected of stabbing ten people in an Indigenous community and a nearby town in one of the deadliest mass killings in Canada’s history.
The men are also suspected of injuring 15 people in the series of knife attacks that prompted the James Smith Cree Nation to declare a state of emergency and shook residents of the nearby village of Weldon.
“Nobody in this town will ever sleep again. They’ll be afraid to open their door,” said Weldon’s Ruby Works, who was close to one of the victims.
Police meanwhile said a vehicle reportedly transporting the two suspects was sighted about 335 kilometers (210 miles) south of the communities where the stabbings took place.
Police Chief Evan Bray said the suspects are believed to be in the provincial capital, Regina.
The suspects have been identified as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30. Police would not confirm if the two are related, giving few details about them.
“It is appalling what has happened in our province,” said Rhonda Blackmore, deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan, adding there were 13 locations where either dead or injured were found.
Blackmore said some of the victims appeared to have been attacked by the suspects, but others appeared to have been attacked indiscriminately.
She could not provide a motive, but the head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations issued a statement suggesting the stabbings could be drug-related.
The elected leaders of the three communities that make up the James Smith Cree Nation, including the Chakastaypasin Band and the Peter Chapman Band, declared a local state of emergency and opened two emergency response centers.
Chakastaypasin boss Calvin Sanderson – who does not appear to be related to the suspects – said everyone was affected by the tragic events.
“They were our relatives, friends,” Sanderson said of the victims. “It’s pretty awful.”
“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs enter our communities, and we urge all agencies to follow the direction of Chiefs and Councils and their members to create safer, healthier communities for our people.” said Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
Among the 10 victims killed was Lana Head, former partner of Michael Brett Burns and mother of their two daughters.
“It’s sick how prison, drugs and alcohol can destroy many lives,” Burns told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. “I’m hurt for all this loss.”
Last May, Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers released a wanted list that included Myles Sanderson, writing that he was “unlawfully at large.”
The attack is among the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history. The deadliest shooting spree in the country’s history occurred in 2020, when a man dressed as a police officer shot people in their homes and set fires across the province of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people. A man killed 10 pedestrians with a van in Toronto in 2019. But mass killings are less common in Canada than in the United States.
Fatal stabbings are less common than mass shootings but have happened around the world. In 2014, 29 people were slashed and stabbed to death at a train station in the southwest Chinese city of Kunming. In 2016, a mass attack on a facility for the mentally disabled in Sagamihara, Japan, killed 19 people. A year later, three men killed eight people in a vehicle and knife attack at London Bridge.
Doreen Lees, an 89-year-old grandmother from Weldon, said she and her daughter thought they saw one of the suspects when a car sped down their street early Sunday as her daughter was having coffee on her patio. Lees said a man approached them and said he was hurt and needed help.
But Lees said the man bolted and ran after her daughter, who said she was calling for help.
“He didn’t want to show his face. He had a large jacket over his face. We asked his name and he mumbled his name twice and we still couldn’t catch him,” she said. “He said his face was so badly injured he couldn’t show it.”
She said the man was alone and “a bit shaky.”
“I followed him a bit to see if he was ok. My daughter said, ‘Don’t follow him, come back here.’”
Weldon residents have identified one of the victims as Wes Petterson. Ruby Works said the 77-year-old widower was like an uncle to her.
“I collapsed and hit the ground. I’ve known him since I was a little girl,” she said, describing the moment she heard the news. She said he loves his cats, prides himself on his homemade Saskatoon berry jam, and often helped his neighbors out.
“He didn’t do anything. He didn’t deserve this. He was a good, good-hearted man,” Works said.
Weldoner Robert Rush also described the victim as a gentle, widowed man in his seventies.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” he said.
Rush said Petterson’s adult grandson was in the basement at the time and called the police.
At Weldon Christian Tabernacle Church, the congregation began their regular Sunday service with a special prayer for the victims and their families.
In the James Smith Cree Nation, a convenience store that doubles as a gas station became a gathering place for parishioners, who greeted each other with tears and hugs.
A sign on the door read, “Due to safety concerns from our community, we will remain closed until further notice.”
The search for suspects was conducted as fans descended on Regina for a sold-out annual Labor Day game between the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Regina Police Service said in a news release that it was working on multiple fronts with the help of Mounties to locate and arrest the suspects and had “provided additional public safety resources across the city, including the football game at the Mosaic.” Stage.
Police received initial stabbing calls at 5:40 a.m. Sunday. The alert, first issued around 7 a.m. by Melfort, Saskatchewan, RCMP was extended to Manitoba and Alberta hours later as the two suspects remained at large.
The Saskatchewan Health Department said multiple patients were being treated at multiple locations.
“Additional personnel have been requested to respond to the influx of victims,” agency spokeswoman Anne Linemann said in an email.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement he was “shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks”.
“As Canadians, we mourn with all those affected by this tragic violence and with the people of Saskatchewan,” Trudeau said.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
https://6abc.com/canada-stabbings-deadliest-mass-killings-saskatchewan-deadly-canadian-attack/12199716/ Canada stabbing spree: 10 dead, 15 injured from stabbings in Saskatchewan, police searching for Damien Sanderson, Myles Sanderson