(SASKATCHEWAN, Canada) — A suspect in the Canada stabbing massacre that left 10 people dead and 18 injured has been found dead, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Saskatchewan forensic officials said at a news conference on Monday.
Damien Sanderson’s body was discovered in a heavily grassed area near a house that officials were examining.
Officials haven’t confirmed his cause of death, but his injuries don’t appear to be self-inflicted, Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the commanding officer of Saskatchewan RCMP, said.
Miles Sanderson, Damien Sanderson’s brother, may be injured and may seek medical attention but is still on the run, according to RCMP officials. He is still considered armed and dangerous.
A massive search for the suspects was underway on Monday, as they remained on the run for a second day. They were accused of carrying out the attack in an Indigenous community in Saskatchewan, authorities said.
On Sunday, RCMP Saskatchewan identified Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson as the two suspects in the massacre. They were believed to be driving a black Nissan Rogue with SK license plate 119 MPI, according to police.
“Let me be clear, we are still looking for the two suspects. We are asking residents across Saskatchewan and our neighboring provinces to be vigilant. At this stage in our investigation, we believe some of the victims have been targeted by the suspects and others have been attacked randomly,” Blackmore said in a statement issued late Sunday night.
The Sandersons, whose relationship to each other was not immediately disclosed, are considered armed and dangerous, and Blackmore advised anyone who spots them to call police immediately and refrain from approaching them.
Chief Evan Bray of the Regina Police Service, in Saskatchewan, issued a video statement on Twitter Monday morning, saying that “despite ongoing, relentless efforts through the night,” the suspects remained at large.
“We’ve got a fresh set of investigators and shifts coming in today that will take over this investigation,” Bray said.
He asked that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspects contact police immediately.
“We are confident that someone out there knows the whereabouts of these two and has information that would be valuable to the police, and I urge you to get in touch with your local police service to let us know,” Bray said. “There’s a lot of grief, there’s a lot of anxiety in our province and in our communities this morning and all day yesterday, and really I think an important step for families and communities working through this will be to bring these two safely into custody.”
The stabbings occurred between James Smith Cree Nation and in the village of Weldon, located northeast of Saskatoon, police said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Saskatchewan said in a statement Monday that both suspects have been charged in the episode and that arrest warrants have been issued. Myles Sanderson is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count count of breaking and entering into a residence, officials said. Damien Sanderson is charged with one count of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of breaking and entering into a residence.
More charges are expected to be filed against the suspects, the agency said.
The number of injured victims increased from 15 to 18, Blackmore said in a statement Monday.
Blackmore said investigators believe the suspects are still in the Regina area, but did not elaborate.
“To the people of Saskatchewan and beyond — please be assured that we are using every human, investigational and technological resource we have available to locate and arrest the persons responsible for this tragedy and to ensure your safety,” Blackmore said in a statement Monday. “Hundreds of Saskatchewan RCMP staff are dedicated to this investigation — this includes operators taking 911 calls and tips, to frontline officers patrolling our streets to the on-scene specialized forensic and Major Crime Unit teams who continue to follow up on all information and evidence gathered.”
Blackmore said the massacre started around 5:40 a.m. Sunday when the Saskatchewan RCMP Divisional Operational Communications Center received the first call reporting a stabbing on the James Smith Cree Nation. Blackmore said numerous calls began coming into the center from multiple locations.
“At this point in our investigation, we have located 10 deceased individuals and are investigating 13 locations in the communities of the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon in Saskatchewan,” Blackmore said.
A motive for the attacks remains under investigation.
Meanwhile, the Saskatoon, Canada, police confirmed to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that they’ve been searching for Myles Sanderson since May, when he violated parole by failing to meet with his parole officer. He was classified as “unlawfully at large,” Saskatoon police told CBC.
Myles Sanderson was placed on parole after serving a nearly five-year federal sentence for assault, robbery, mischief and uttering threats, police told CBC.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Sunday, saying, “I am shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks today in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, Saskatchewan, that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured many more.”
“As Canadians, we mourn with everyone affected by this tragic violence, and with the people of Saskatchewan. We also wish a full and quick recovery to those injured,” he said.
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