REGINA, Saskatchewan — A series of stabbings at an Indigenous community and in another nearby town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan left 10 people dead and 15 injured, Canadian police said Sunday as they searched for two suspects.
The stabbings took place in multiple locations on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the village of Weldon, northeast of Saskatoon, police said. There were 13 crime scenes, according to authorities.
Rhonda Blackmore, the assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Saskatchewan, said some of the victims appear to have been targeted by the suspects but others appear to have been attacked at random. She couldn’t provide a motive.
“It is horrific what has occurred in our province today,” Blackmore said.
It is among the deadliest mass killings in Canadian history. The deadliest gun rampage in Canadian history happened in 2020 when a man disguised as a police officer shot people in their homes and set fires across the province of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people. A man used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto in 2019. But mass killings are less common in Canada than in the United States.
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In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks.”
“As Canadians, we mourn with everyone affected by this tragic violence, and with the people of Saskatchewan,” Trudeau said.
Blackmore said police began receiving reports before 6 a.m. of stabbings on the First Nation community. More reports of attacks quickly followed and, by midday, police issued a warning that a vehicle reportedly carrying the two suspects had been spotted in Regina, some 200 miles south of the communities where the stabbings occurred.
“If in the Regina area, take precautions & consider sheltering in place. Do not leave a secure location. DO NOT APPROACH suspicious persons. Do not pick up hitch hikers. Report suspicious persons, emergencies or info to 9-1-1. Do not disclose police locations,” the RCMP said in a message on Twitter.
The suspects were identified as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30. Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers issued a wanted list last May that included Myles, writing that he was “unlawfully at large.”
Doreen Lees, an 89-year grandmother from Weldon, said she and her daughter thought they saw one of the suspects when a car came barreling down her street early in the morning as her daughter was having coffee on her deck. Lees said a man approached them and said he was hurt and needed help.
But Lees said the man took off and ran after 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.”
She said the man was by himself and “kind a little wobbly.”
“I followed him a little ways to see if he was going to be OK. My daughter said ‘Don’t follow him, get back here.’”
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The search for suspects was carried out as fans descended on Regina for a sold-out annual Labor Day game between the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Regina Police Service said in a news release that with the help of Mounties, it was working on several fronts to locate and arrest the suspects and had “deployed additional resources for public safety throughout the city, including the football game at Mosaic Stadium.”
The alert first issued in Saskatchewan was later extended to cover Manitoba and Alberta as the suspects remained at-large.