Saskatchewan RCMP say one of the suspects in a series of stabbing attacks that left 10 dead and 18 injured has been found dead.
The hunt for Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30, began early Sunday morning following multiple reports of stabbings on the James Smith Cree Nation — about 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
In an update to news media Monday afternoon, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said forensic investigators have now identified a body found on the First Nation as Damien.
“At 11:30 a.m. a deceased male was located on the James Smith Cree Nation, at 1:17 pm today it was confirmed by the Saskatchewan RCMP forensic investigation section that the deceased is Damien Sanderson,” Blackmore said.
Blackmore said his body was found in a heavily-grassed area.
“We can confirm he has visible injuries. These injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this point,” Blackmore said.
Blackmore also said police believe Myles may have been injured.
“This brings the count of this tragedy to 11 deceased persons 19 injured,” she said.
“We do want the public to know this because there is a possibility he may seek medical attention. Even if he is injured it does not mean he is not still dangerous,” Blackmore said.
The Assistant Commissioner said Myles has a “lengthy criminal record involving both persons and property crimes.”
Blackmore said RCMP have confirmed the two men were brothers.
Earlier in the day before Damien’s death was confirmed, RCMP charged the two men.
Myles faces three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of break and enter.
Damien was charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of break and enter.
RCMP said more charges are expected as the complex investigation involving dozens of victims and 13 crime scenes unfolds. On Monday, RCMP raised the toll of injured victims from 15 to 18.
“Keep in mind there is a lot of crime scenes to process and a lot of information to process,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said in an interview with CTV News around noon on Monday.
Police believe Myles may have been spotted in Regina just before 12 p.m. on Sunday. He was last known to be travelling in a black Nissan Rogue with the Saskatchewan licence plate 119 MPI.
Myles is just over six feet tall, weighing 240 pounds, according to police.
While speaking during the RCMP update, Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray acknowledged the “credible information” inolving a potential sigthing of the vehicle was “quite stale.”
“We can’t say for certain that he is still in the community but we’re operating as if he is,” Bray said.
“We encourage people to be aware and report anything that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary.”
RCMP consider Myles armed and dangerous and say he should not be approached.
“Every moment that these individuals remaining remain at large, innocent people are in danger,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a video posted on Twitter before Damiens’ death was announced.
“So if anyone has any information that can help police end that danger, please provide that information,” Moe said.
Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the violent rampage in prepared remarks.
“Yesterday’s attacks in Saskatchewan are shocking and heartbreaking. My thoughts and the thoughts of all Canadians are with those who’ve lost loved ones, and with those who are injured, this kind of violence, or any kind of violence has no place in our country,” Trudeau said.
“Saskatchewanians and Canadians will do what we always do in times of difficulty and anguish. We’ll be there for each other. Be there for our neighbours, lean on each other. Help grieve and help heal. We will continue to do that and all Canadians will be with you in this difficult time,” the Prime Minister said.
While some of the attacks appear to have been targeted, others may have been random, according to RCMP.
A dangerous persons alert that began in Saskatchewan on Sunday was later extended to include neighbouring Alberta and Manitoba.
At least one attack occurred in the village of Weldon, Sask., located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the First Nation. Residents there told CTV News a man in his 80s had been killed.
In a May 27 Facebook post from Saskatchewan Crimestoppers that was focused on fugitives, Myles Sanderson was listed as unlawfully at large with Saskatoon his last known location.
Blackmore told CTV News both men were previously known to police.
Among those killed in the attacks are a mother of two and a 77-year-old man.
“So many good memories to cherish,” Lana Head posted on Facebook the night before the attacks.
Following the James Smith Cree Nation woman’s death, many paid tribute on social media.
“In total disbelief that (you) were taken from this world in that horror. I will miss our chats and seeing your chipmunk cheek smile. May you be guided into the spirit world wrapped in comfort, peace and love,” one person wrote on Head’s Facebook page.
Residents in the village of Weldon were left reeling by the death of Wes Petterson, a widower who was a long-time resident.
“He liked to plant cucumbers, tomatoes and he was so proud that he made his Saskatoon (berry) jelly just yesterday,” Ruby Works told CTV News on Monday.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said on Monday the situation “continues to evolve” as multiple people are being cared for at multiple locations.
“Our hearts go out to those affected as well as their families. As a symbol of our support for the people and communities we serve that were impacted by this terrible tragedy, we are lowering our flags to half-mast,” the SHA said in a statement.
Following the attacks, air and ground ambulances were dispatched due to the high number of casualties.
The SHA moved into a “code orange” process for accepting a high number of critical patients. A similar measure was taken in response to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018 that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
In a news release late Monday afternoon, the SHA announced that the “Code Orange” was discontinued late Sunday.
With files from Lisa Risom and Reuters.
–This is a developing story. More details to come.
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