Second suspect in deadly Canada stabbing spree is dead, officials say

The second of two suspects accused of fatally stabbing 10 people in and around an Indigenous community of Saskatchewan died Wednesday after he was taken into custody, Canadian authorities said.

Myles Sanderson, 30, “went into medical distress” and was pronounced dead at a hospital in Saskatoon after authorities forced a truck that he had apparently stolen off the road, Rhonda Blackmore, a commanding officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told reporters.

His cause of death was not immediately clear. He and his brother Damien Sanderson are accused in the violent weekend spree.

A homeowner Wednesday eported seeing Sanderson armed with a knife standing outside his home in the Wakaw area, Blackmore said. The homeowner, who wasn’t injured, told authorities that Sanderson took off on his Chevy Avalanche.

An hour and a half later, at 3:30 p.m., officers spotted the truck on a highway and forced it into a ditch, Blackmore said.

“This evening our province is breathing a collective sigh of relief,” Blackmore said.

It still wasn’t clear what might have led brothers Myles and Damien Sanderson, 31, to go on the violent spree that unfolded Sunday morning on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the town of Weldon. The series of knife attacks appeared to include both targeted victims and random people, officials said.

Damien Sanderson was found dead on the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan at 11:30 a.m. Monday with visible injuries that are not believed to have been self-inflicted, police said.

In addition to the 10 slayings, Myles and Damian Sanderson are suspected of injuring 18 people at 13 crime scenes.

Saskatchewan police got their first of several stabbing reports at about 5:40 a.m. Sunday, and by 7:12 a.m. authorities had the names of their suspects.

James Smith Cree Nation is about 200 miles north of the provincial capital, Regina.

The stabbing spree happened just months after a parole board released Myles Sanderson from a four-year sentence for assault and robbery. Myles Sanderson, who had 59 previous convictions, was granted release in February, and by May, he was being sought by officials for violating the terms of his release.

Court records indicate that seven years ago, Myles Sanderson attacked and stabbed one of the victims who was killed in the weekend rampage.

Safety officials said they will look into the parole board’s decision to release Myles Sanderson.

“I want to know the reasons behind the decision” to release him,” Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said. “I’m extremely concerned with what occurred here. A community has been left reeling.”

The Saskatchewan slayings have shaken all of Canada, where violent crime is relatively rare.

There were about 750 homicides in Canada in 2020, a nation of about 38 million people.

That’s in stark contrast to the U.S., with nearly nine times the population, where there were more than 21,500 homicides in 2020, according to the FBI.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has been in close contact with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and James Smith Cree Nation leaders during the crisis.

“I let them know our government is ready to assist in any way we can, and that we’re here to support the people of Saskatchewan during this difficult time,” Trudeau said in a statement Monday.

Polly DeFrank and Associated Press contributed.

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