Canada

Myles Sanderson responsible for all 11 Sask. stabbing deaths: RCMP


Myles Sanderson was responsible for all 11 deaths during the mass stabbing in Saskatchewan last month, according to RCMP.


RCMP said Thursday that evidence suggests Damien Sanderson, another suspect originally believed to have been involved in the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, Sask. stabbings, was murdered by Myles, his brother.


“Myles Sanderson committed all of the homicides alone,” Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, said during a press conference Thursday.


“This brings the total number of people who were killed by Myles Sanderson on Sept. 4, 2022 to 11.”


Damien was initially charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of breaking and entering. All charges related to the investigation were withdrawn by the Crown following the deaths of Myles and Damien, according to RCMP.


“The Saskatchewan RCMP believes it is important to clarify Damien’s involvement in the sequence of these events to demonstrate our continued commitment to transparency to the victims and the families of those affected and to the public,” Blackmore said.


Blackmore added, however, that evidence suggests Damien was involved in the initial planning and preparation for the attacks on Sept. 4. While there is indication that Damien was initially involved, Blackmore said something may have changed as the attacks unfolded.


“We are still investigating the extent of Damien’s involvement,” she said.


The Sept. 4 mass stabbing left 11 dead and 18 injured.


Damien’s body was found in a grassy area on James Smith Cree Nation on Sept. 5. 


Myles Sanderson died in police custody after going into medical distress shortly after his arrest on Sept. 7.


THE DAY BEFORE THE ATTACKS


RCMP were called to James Smith Cree Nation around 4 a.m. on Sept. 3, for a report that Damien Sanderson had stolen a vehicle, according to Blackmore.


On their way to the community, officers confirmed Damien had an outstanding warrant from a previous assault.


Police responded to the First Nation and located the stolen vehicle in front of a residence. Blackmore said the officers then conducted a search of the home, with consent from the homeowner. She said there was a group of approximately seven people inside. The men inside were asked to confirm their identities.


Blackmore said it was later confirmed that Damien was among those in the residence and had provided police with a false name. The officers had been referencing a photo of Damien in their database from 2014, which was no longer accurate.


Through further investigation, police determined Myles and Damien were actively selling drugs in the community on Sept. 3 – the day before the attack.


There were also three unreported violent altercations involving Myles, Damien and other members of the community in the days leading up to the stabbings, according to RCMP. Blackmore said it is unknown at this point if those assaults involved weapons.


“I’d like to be clear, at no time during the first 911 report to police, or any of the following conversations between Melfort RCMP officers and the caller on the morning of Sept. 3 was Myles Sanderson’s name or actions or any threats of violence reported to police,” Blackmore said.


“The Saskatchewan RCMP had no information or indication that would suggest any violence was to occur. The events that were going to unfold the next day were unknown to police at that time.”


Blackmore said the investigation is ongoing, to try and determine the motives behind the attacks and why some victims were targeted.


“This will take time to complete and the reality is, we may never really know exactly why,” Blackmore said.


With files from CTV News Saskatoon’s Josh Lynn

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