Damien Sanderson and Miles Sanderson suspected of stabbing in Saskatchewan – Copyright AFP John THYS
Police said Monday that one of two brothers who were the victims of a massive manhunt in Canada after allegedly committing a series of stabbings that left 10 people dead and 18 injured.
The killings in the remote First Nations community of James Smith Cree and in the town of Weldon in western Canada’s Saskatchewan province are some of the deadliest mass violence the country has ever seen.
Police have been combing Saskatchewan and two neighboring provinces for men identified as Miles and Damien Sanderson, aged 30 and 31, respectively, since early Sunday.
On Monday afternoon, Damien Sanderson’s body was “discovered outdoors in thick grass near a home being inspected” by James Smith Cree tribal authorities, Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said at a news conference.
According to her, he had “visible injuries” that were not self-inflicted.
“We can’t say for sure how Damien ended up dead,” Blackmore said, adding that he “potentially” could have been killed by his brother Miles, who remains at large and is “strongly believed” to have also been injured.
The exact cause of Sanderson’s death will be determined by the Saskatchewan prosecutor’s office, which has yet to set a date and time for an autopsy.
The hunt for Miles Sanderson continues, and the border guards are alerted to the possibility that he may try to enter the United States.
Evan Bray, police chief of the provincial capital of Regina, said he is believed to still be hiding in the city – 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the site of the attack – following alleged sightings in the area.
“We are still operating under the impression that Miles is in the city of Regina,” he said.
– Attacks “too frequent” –
Earlier, federal police announced that charges of murder, attempted murder and burglary had been filed against the couple, adding that more charges were expected as the investigation progressed.
Miles Sanderson has also been wanted since May for a parole violation after reportedly serving part of a five-year sentence for assault and robbery.
In a video message in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, after ordering the flag to be lowered over Parliament in memory of the victims, said the attacks were shocking and heartbreaking.
“This kind of violence has no place in our country,” he said. “Unfortunately, in recent years, such tragedies have become all too common.”
Since 2017, Canada has seen a rampaging gunman masquerading as a police officer kill 22 people in Nova Scotia, another kill six worshipers in a Quebec mosque, and a van driver kill 11 pedestrians in Toronto.
James Smith Nation residents Cree and Weldon spoke of their shock and devastation and identified the two victims as a 77-year-old widower and a 49-year-old mother of two.
Diane Shear of Weldon told the daily Saskatoon Star Phoenix that her neighbor, a widower, lived with his adult grandson, who hid in the basement and called the police.
“It was around 7:30 in the morning. My husband was in the garden. He saw police cars and an ambulance drive up to the city. This small town. It’s terrible, terrible. Our doors are still locked, we stay inside and don’t go out,” she told the newspaper.
Resident friend Ruby Works said the killings would haunt the town.
“No one in this city will ever sleep again. They will be horrified when they open the door,” Works said.
Another resident, Robert Rush, said he left his granddaughter at home to buy a birthday cake for his wife. “I gave her two guns and a bat,” he said.
– 13 crime scenes –
Blackmore said authorities believe some of the victims were targeted and others were randomly attacked.
The head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Peoples, Bobby Cameron, deplored the “untold violence that took the lives of innocent people.”
He blamed the destruction on “harmful illegal drugs (which) are invading our communities.”
Blackmore said maximum police resources were deployed for the manhunt. “We are using all the human, investigative and technological resources that we have to find and arrest those responsible for this tragedy,” she said earlier.
Forensic teams could be seen in broadcast images combing 13 crime scenes in the First Nations community and Weldon for clues.