• A police forensics team investigates a crime scene after multiple people were killed and injured in a stabbing spree in Weldon, Saskatchewan, Canada. September 4, 2022. REUTERS
Police in western Canada say two men went on a stabbing rampage that was one of the deadliest acts of violence to hit the country.
Here is a summary of what we know about the Sunday attacks:
– What happened? –
The stabbing spree early Sunday at 13 separate locations in the remote Indigenous community of James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby town of Weldon in Canada’s Saskatchewan province left at least 10 people dead and 18 wounded.
– Who was behind the attack? –
Police identified the suspects as Myles Sanderson, aged 30, and Damien Sanderson, 31. The body of the latter was found Monday near a house that authorities have been examining on the grounds of the community.
The body had “visible injuries” that were not self-inflicted, said federal police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore.
Myles Sanderson remained on the run.
The provincial Crime Stoppers website said he was wanted for breaching parole. Public broadcaster CBC said he had vanished in May after serving part of a five-year sentence for assault and robbery.
– What was the motive? –
Police have said it is too early to speak to a motive, while adding that “some of the victims may have been targeted and some may be random.”
“That’s still part of the investigation,” Blackmore said of the issue of motive. “That will be ongoing for quite some time. We haven’t established a motive at this point in time.”
Indigenous leaders pointed to a possible drug connection.
“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities,” the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said.
– Who were the victims? –
Police have not identified the victims, most are from the James Smith Cree nation.
On social media, many members of the community paid tribute to loved ones killed in the stabbing rampage.
One was Lana Head, 49, who had children aged 31 and 30.
Canadian news reports said Gloria Burns, an emergency health worker, was killed after answering a call. Her parents Ivor and Darryl Burns said she was killed along with her partner and a 14-year-old.
And one resident of Weldon told a Saskatoon newspaper that her 77-year-old neighbor, Wes Petterson, who lived with his adult grandson, was killed.
– What are police doing? –
Police have issued arrest warrants for the two suspects, charging them with first-degree murder, attempted murder and breaking and entering. Further charges are expected.
Regina police chief Evan Bray said Monday his force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had worked through the night in a “relentless” search, after apparent sightings of the suspects in the provincial capital.
An RCMP spokeswoman said hundreds of police — some from Manitoba and Alberta — are taking part in the search across a vast region, including those from neighboring provinces.
– What has the reaction been? –
In a video address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the attacks were shocking and heartbreaking.
“This kind of violence has no place in our country,” he said. “Sadly, over these past years, tragedies like these have become all too commonplace.”
European Union leaders and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were among others denouncing the attack and offering condolences.
Closer to the scene, people said they were deeply traumatized.
“This is terrible, terrible,” Weldon resident Diane Shier told the daily Saskatoon Star Phoenix. “We’ve still got our doors locked, staying inside.”
– What other attacks have hit Canada? –
In recent years, a rampaging gunman masquerading as a policeman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia; six people died in a shooting at a Quebec mosque; and a man driving a van along crowded sidewalks in Toronto killed 10 people.