One Suspect in Canadian Stabbing Rampage Found Dead

·3 min read
RCMP via Reuters
RCMP via Reuters

One of the two suspects in a terrifying stabbing rampage that left Canada reeling was found dead on Monday—but his fugitive brother is still on the loose.

Damien Sanderson, 31, was discovered on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve, where he and Myles Sanderson, 30, allegedly went from home to home, knifing 10 people to death and injuring 18 others.

“His body was located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined,” Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said at a news conference.

“We can confirm he has visible injuries. These injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this point.”

2 Suspects at Large After 10 Killed, 15 Injured in Canada Stabbing Spree

Police said they were investigating whether Myles Sanderson had killed Damien and believe that Myles may be injured and seeking medical attention.

“Even if he is injured, it does not mean he is not still dangerous,” Blackmore said. Myles has a lengthy criminal record involving both person and property crime.

“We consider him armed and dangerous,” she added. “Do not approach him.”

Police had said they believed the stolen car the Sanderson brothers were in was spotted in Regina—the capital of the Saskatchewan province, about 200 miles from James Smith Cree Nation—on Sunday.

At the news conference, they said they believed the sighting to be credible and were operating on the assumption that Myles Sanderson did travel to Regina, possibly with someone other than his brother.

Before Damien’s body was found, he and Myles were charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of breaking and entering.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Annie Sanderson comforts her granddaughter, who was close with Gloria Lydia Burns, one of killed on James Smith Cree Nation after a stabbing spree.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">David Stobbe/Reuters</div>

Annie Sanderson comforts her granddaughter, who was close with Gloria Lydia Burns, one of killed on James Smith Cree Nation after a stabbing spree.

David Stobbe/Reuters

Police have not given a definitive motive for one of the worst crimes in Canadian history, though one official suggested it was drug-related.

“Our hearts break for all those impacted,” Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said in a statement. “This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities, and we demand all authorities to take direction from the Chiefs and Councils and their membership to create safer and healthier communities for our people.”

Sanderson appeared on a wanted list on May 27, after he disappeared while on parole for assault, robbery, mischief, and uttering threats.

Police said they began receiving reports of stabbings around 5:40 a.m. Sunday. The attacks took place at 13 locations on the indigenous reserve.

One 17-year-old told The Daily Beast he was at his girlfriend’s house when he received a panicked phone call from his mother, who told him his auntie had been injured.

“They knocked on her door at night,” he said he was told, “and after my auntie opened the door, she was slashed on the face, and stabbed on the shoulder, and stabbed on the back.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>A police forensics team investigates the crime scene.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">David Stobbe/Reuters</div>

A police forensics team investigates the crime scene.

David Stobbe/Reuters

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors told family members she was expected to recover. The 17-year-old said that he’d heard rumors that at least one of his friends had been killed.

“I haven’t heard from her all day,” he said. “It hurts.”

He added, “Everyone is sending their prayers and a lot of us are very worried... I was angry.”

Police have not released the names of all the victims, but some had been confirmed by family members.

Michael Brett Burns said his former partner and mother of his two daughters, Lana Head, was killed. Wes Petterson, 77, a widower was named as a victim by neighbors.

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