Two men wanted in connection with the deaths of 10 people in a stabbing rampage in a Canadian indigenous community remained at large on Monday as authorities sought to determine a motive for the attacks.
Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30, are being sought by police after allegedly stabbing people in 13 locations in the province surrounding the James Smith Cree Nation on Sunday. At least 15 others were wounded in or around the indigenous community. Some were injured in Weldon village, northeast of Saskatoon.
“They are considered armed and dangerous,” Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the commanding officer of Saskatchewan RCMP, said in a press release. “They are believed to be in a black Nissan Rogue SUV with Saskatchewan licence (sic) plate 119 MPI.”
She added, “At this point, we don’t know if they have changed vehicle since this morning. Their location and direction of travel are unknown. This is why we need everyone in the province to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity by calling 911 immediately.”
Some of the victims appeared to have been targeted, police said, while others seemed to have been chosen randomly. Blackmore provided no explanation for the attacks.
Doreen Lees, 89, said she and her daughter were sitting on their porch in Weldon on Sunday morning when they noticed a dark SUV speeding by. Such a sight is unusual in the small village.
Shortly after, Lees said, a man approached them and said he was hurt; he was wobbling and had his face covered. Her daughter offered to call for help, but the man fled. She dashed inside to call the cops, but the man vanished, she claimed.
“He wouldn’t show his face,” Lees said. “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. He said his face was injured so bad he couldn’t show it.”
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the tragedy “is the destruction we face when harmful, illegal drugs invade our communities.” He urged all authorities to work together to “create safer and healthier communities for our people.”
The two men have the same surname, but it is unclear whether they are related or from the same community.
Police bulletins urged people to report suspicious people and to take precautions such as sheltering in place while also cautioning people not to pick up hitchhikers or approach suspicious people.
“If you see the suspects and/or their vehicle, do not approach them or their vehicle. Immediately leave the area and call 911,” instructed Blackmore.
Homicide by stabbing occurs about three times more often in Canada than in the United States; it was the second-most common method in Canada in 2020, responsible for almost 31% of homicides. FBI data shows that in the United States, knives or cutting instruments were used in nearly 10% of recorded homicides in 2020.