Good morning. It’s James Keller in Calgary.
The RCMP continue to search for one of two brothers suspected in a stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan that left 10 victims and one suspected attacker dead and 18 injured in what has become one of Canada’s deadliest mass killings.
The attacks prompted warnings Sunday morning in James Smith Cree Nation for people to seek shelter and subsequent emergency alerts across the Prairies that two brothers – Myles Sanderson and Damien Sanderson – were dangerous and at large.
The RCMP later confirmed that the attacks were reported at 13 locations in James Smith and nearby Weldon. Damien Sanderson was found dead on Monday in a grassy area at James Smith. Police said he had wounds that were not self-inflicted but have said little else about how he died.
Investigators have said Myles Sanderson was believed to be in Regina and was previously seen driving a black Nissan Rogue. There was a reported sighting of him in James Smith on Tuesday, prompting a renewed alert there, but emergency tactical teams later pulled out of the area after determining Mr. Sanderson wasn’t in the community.
James Smith Cree Nation, located northeast of Saskatoon, is home to about 3,400 people. Weldon is a nearby village of about 200.
Relatives of Gloria Burns, the crisis worker, said she died while trying to help two unidentified victims.
Her son, Dillon, praised his mother on Facebook for her heroism.
“My mom was protecting a young man while he was being attacked and she lost her life in the process,” he wrote. “I cannot explain how I’m feeling at this point but I know it’s just like my mom to protect that young man. She would’ve done the same for any of us and she would’ve done the same for the man who has taken her life.”
Chiefs and councillors of the First Nation – comprised of three communities, including the Chakastaypasin Band and the Peter Chapman Band – declared a state of emergency Sunday night and set up two emergency operations centres for residents. People from the community took to social media to share stories of loss and heroism, with some using the hashtag #JamesSmithStrong.
The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan has said it would provide crisis and grief counselling for Métis and First Nations families in Weldon and the neighbouring community of Kinistino, as well as supporting efforts at James Smith. The Saskatchewan government has also deployed victim services to the communities affected.
The Bernice Sayese Centre in Prince Albert is encouraging people to donate supplies such as paper plates, hand soap, meat, potatoes and bottled water to be delivered to James Smith for coming funerals.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with leadership from the James Smith Cree Nation, as well as Premier Scott Moe, to express his condolences. He pledged that Ottawa would help in any way it could.
Mr. Moe called the attacks “horrific beyond anything that any of us could ever imagine.”
Myles Sanderson had been wanted by police in Saskatchewan since this past spring, when he stopped reporting to a parole officer.
Parole documents reveal that Mr. Sanderson has a criminal record that includes several violent crimes.
He had served a four-year, four-month sentence in 2017 and 2018 for offences including a rampage at his common-law partner’s home; a gunpoint robbery; attacking two men with a fork and beating a passerby unconscious; and assaulting police at his partner’s house, kicking a police officer in the head. He had served two-thirds of his sentence and was placed on statutory release, a process for gradually reintroducing federal inmates into society under strict conditions.
Ken Coates, director of the Indigenous affairs program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a Canada research chair at the University of Saskatchewan, writes in an op-ed for The Globe and Mail that the killings have left a deep wound in the community.
“Canadians need to keep the people of the James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby town of Weldon in their thoughts and prayers. These are resilient people, with a passion for renewal, collaboration and the pursuit of meaningful independence. But they need us to share their devastation and support their recovery from an atrocity that will resonate for decades.”
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This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here.