Manhunt continues for suspects in Saskatchewan stabbings, police remain tight-lipped

Manhunt continues for suspects in Saskatchewan stabbings, police remain tight-lipped
Investigators with protective equipment enter a house in a crime scene in Weldon, Sask., Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. Saskatchewan RCMP has confirmed that there are 10 dead while 15 are injured following the stabbings that occurred at James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon in Saskatchewan.

Investigators continued their “relentless” manhunt Monday for two suspects accused in a series of stabbings that left 10 people dead and at least 15 others injured in rural Saskatchewan a day earlier.

The men were still on the lam 24 hours after officials first issued an emergency alert warning residents of the rampage on the James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said in a video posted to Twitter early Monday.

“This despite ongoing, relentless efforts through the night by both the RCMP and the Regina Police Service to locate these two individuals,” he said.

“We’ve got a fresh set of investigators and shifts coming in today that will take over this investigation. And we will not stop this investigation until we have those two safely in custody.”

RCMP said they planned to provide another update later Monday morning.

A dangerous persons alert remained in effect from Alberta to Manitoba for Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30.

Damien Sanderson is described as five feet, seven inches tall and 155 pounds, and Myles Sanderson as six-foot-one and 200 pounds.

Both have black hair and brown eyes and may be driving a black Nissan Rogue with licence plate 119 MPI, although police have said it is possible they have switched vehicles.

Investigators have said the attacks took place at 13 different locations on the James Smith Cree Nation and in nearby Weldon, northeast of Saskatoon, with police getting the first reports on the First Nation before 6 a.m. Sunday.

Emergency responders took 15 survivors to hospital, but said it’s possible more people were injured and sought treatment on their own.

Investigators have said some of the victims were targeted while others were chosen at random, though they did not say how they know.

Doreen Lees, an 89-year-old resident from Weldon, said she and her daughter thought they saw one of the suspects when a car came barrelling down her street early Sunday.

Lees said a man approached them and said he was hurt and needed help, but said he took off when her daughter said she would call for help.

“He wouldn’t show his face. He had a big jacket over his face. We asked his name and he kind of mumbled his name twice and we still couldn’t get it,” she said. “He said his face was injured so bad he couldn’t show it.”

Lees said she was concerned and started to follow him, but her daughter told her to come back to the house.

There’s been no official word on the identities of the victims, but Weldon residents have identified one of the deceased as 77-year-old Wes Petterson.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tweeted his condolences Sunday to the family and friends of the victims, with his office later saying flags at provincial government buildings will be lowered to half-mast one day for each person killed.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks,” adding all Canadians offer their support as they mourn with the people of Saskatchewan and “everyone affected by this tragic violence.”

Bray, of the Regina Police Service, agreed the violence was affecting the province.

“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,” Bray said. “And really I think an important step for families and communities working through this will be to bring these two safely into custody.”

Rev. Wilfred Sanderson, who livestreamed a prayer service on Facebook on Sunday night, said members of the community had hoped to pray together in person.

“We were supposed to gather this evening at the gym, but we’re on lockdown for the safety of everybody, so we couldn’t gather. This is the safest way that we could reach you people,” he said during the livestream, which was shot in a kitchen.

“Lord, grant us strength to forgive,” Wilfred Sanderson said. “Grant us strength to get through this together.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 5, 2022.

— With files from The Associated Press

READ MORE: Timeline of the police response to stabbings in Saskatchewan that killed at least 10

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