Myles Sanderson was wanted on a warrant for three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder and breaking and entering a residence.
The events leading up to the death of Myles Sanderson began with a call Wednesday at 2:07 p.m. local time for a break and enter when officers received a tip. Sanderson stood in front of a house northeast of Wakaw town with a knife. It was reported he stole a white Chevrolet Avalanche truck and fled the property and RCMP issued an emergency alert, Blackmore said.
Over the next 45 minutes, the RCMP received more than 20 calls regarding potential sightings of the truck. An RCMP officer eventually saw the truck traveling at least 150 km/h (90 mph) and it was on a nearby highway, Blackmore said.
“To ensure driver safety on the highway, the vehicle was steered off the road and into a nearby ditch,” Blackmore said.
Police confirmed the driver was Sanderson and took him into custody, Blackmore said. A knife was found inside his vehicle.
“Shortly after his arrest he entered medical distress. Nearby EMS were called to the scene and he was transported to a hospital in Saskatoon,” Blackmore said, adding that he had been pronounced dead in hospital.
Blackmore said “every rescue action we are capable of was taken” until EMS arrived when Sanderson entered medical distress. She wouldn’t comment when asked if Narcan’s administration was one of those lifesaving measures.
“I can’t speak to the specific manner of death, that will be part of the autopsy that will be performed,” Blackmore said.
The Saskatoon Police Department and the Saskatchewan Incident Response Team will lead the investigation into Sanderson’s death, according to Blackmore.
Sanderson’s death and arrest occur three days after 10 people were killed in the mass stabbings, and 18 others were injured. The ages of the victims ranged from 23 to 78, authorities said.
All but one of the victims belong to James Smith’s Cree Nation
The 10 victims range in age from 23 to 78 and all but one are from the James Smith Cree Nation Indigenous community, authorities said.
Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service and RCMP provided the names and ages of the victims in a statement Wednesday, but declined to confirm the relationship between them. Six of the victims share the last name Burns, two share the last name Head and one shares the last name of the two suspects in the attacks.
The victims have been identified as:
- Thomas Burns, 23
- Carol Burns, 46
- Gregory Burns, 28
- Lydia Gloria Burns, 61
- Bonnie Burns, 48
- Earl Burns, 66
- Lana Head, 49
- Christian head, 54 years old
- Robert Sanderson, 49
- Wesley Petterson, 78
Petterson is from Weldon, Saskatchewan, while the other nine victims are from the James Smith Cree Nation.
Several family members of some victims spoke at a press conference Wednesday about their relatives. Saskatoon tribal leader Mark Arcand identified Bonnie Burns as his sister and Gregory Burns as his son, and he said another of his sons was stabbed but survived.
“Let me be honest in saying this, we don’t really know what happened. We just know that our family members were killed in their own homes, in their backyards,” Arcand said.
In addition, 18 people were injured in the stabbing attacks, but authorities will not release their identities. “We can confirm that a young teenager was injured and the others injured are all adults. We will not confirm other specific ages,” the agencies said.
The victim information was released as Canadian police continued their massive search for one of two suspects in the brutal attacks, which spanned 13 different crime scenes in James Smith’s Cree Nation and Weldon, a nearby rural village.
Some of the victims were apparently targeted, police say
It remains unclear what prompted the violence and how or if the brothers knew any of the victims.
Some were apparently targeted while others may have been randomly attacked, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said in a press briefing on Monday.
It’s also unclear if the brothers carried out the attacks at the same time, according to Blackmore.
The first stabbing was reported on James Smith’s Cree Nation at 5:40 a.m. Minutes later, several more calls came in about stabbings at other locations, police said.
The nation has a population of about 3,400 people with about 1,800 members living on the reservation, according to its website.
As of 9:45 a.m., authorities were reporting casualties at multiple locations, including one in Weldon.
Lydia Gloria Burns, First Responder, was responding to a crisis call when she was caught up in the violence and killed, her brother Darryl Burns told Reuters, although the agency did not say whether the call was related to the stabbing.
“She was slaughtered,” her brother Ivor Burns told Reuters.
The discovery of Damien Sanderson’s body a day after the attacks also raised questions about his brother’s involvement in his death. But police said on Monday it was unclear whether Myles Sanderson was involved.
“It’s an investigative lead that we’re following, but we can’t say definitively at this point,” Blackmore said.
The suspect had a ‘long’ criminal history and was released by the parole board
Blackmore previously said Sanderson had warrants for his arrest before the stabbings.
“Myles’ case goes back a number of years and includes both property and personal crimes,” Blackmore said, without giving details of the alleged crimes.
“His actions have shown that he is violent and so we continue to urge people to remain vigilant,” Blackmore added.
Sanderson was granted statutory release by the Parole Board of Canada, pursuant to a decision issued on February 1, 2022.
According to the board, statutory release is a presumptive release provided by law that allows an offender to serve part of their sentence in the community under direct supervision. According to Canadian law, the Correctional Service of Canada must release most offenders under supervision after having served two-thirds of their sentence, if they have not already been granted parole, with the exception of those serving a life sentence.
The board said in the decision that it did not believe Sanderson would pose a risk to the public if released. The decision noted his long criminal history and that he had been assessed by a psychologist for “moderate risk of violence”.
“Your criminal history is of great concern, including the use of violence and weapons related to your index offences, and your history of domestic violence that has victimized family, including your children, and non-families,” says the ruling judge.
In a statement, the parole board said it “extends its thoughts to the victims, their families and all those affected as a result of these senseless and horrific acts of violence.”
Citing the Privacy Act, the board said it could not discuss the details of an offender’s case.
CNN’s Paula Newton, Tina Burnside, Chuck Johnston, Michelle Watson and Cara Lynn Clarkson contributed to this report.