Fear and confusion as police expand search for stabbing suspect to Canada

Fear and confusion as police expand search for stabbing suspect to Canada

Fear and confusion as police expand search for stabbing suspect to Canada

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Fear, confusion and despair increased in Western Canada as police expanded their search for the remaining suspect in a stabbing spree that resulted in the deaths of 11 people.

On Tuesday afternoon, an emergency alert on phones warned people to take refuge on the spot after several people in the James Smith Cree Nation reported seeing Myles Sanderson, 30, wanted for the series of attacks that resulted in at least 11 deaths and 18 injured.

At one point, officers reportedly surrounded a house with guns drawn, closed all entrances to the community, and began searching vehicles. Police cruisers were seen darting towards the community as panic spread among the residents.

Two hours later, however, the police sent out another notice saying Sanderson was not in the community. “Since his whereabouts are unknown, we urge the public to take appropriate precautions,” reads the notice.

The search for Myles Sanderson, 30, entered its third day as police scoured Regina, the Saskatchewan capital, looking for the suspect, who is believed to have been injured. His brother, Damien, 31, also a suspect in the attack, was found dead Monday near the attack sites. Authorities say his injuries were not self-inflicted.

The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, urged residents to heed the warnings from local authorities.

“We have to make sure everyone is safe,” he told reporters. “All Canadians are with the Saskatchewan people right now.”

Sanderson is accused of murder for his alleged role in the stabbing spree in northeastern Saskatchewan, which left casualties scattered across 13 crime scenes in the John Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon village.

The attacks stunned the James Smith Cree Nation, a First Nations reservation of 3,400, where residents mourn the deaths of beloved community members. Among them are a mother, a community first responder and a 77-year-old widower.

As residents of the northern indigenous community struggle to make sense of the attacks, prominent figures in the region have blamed drugs and alcohol.

“Our hearts break for all who have been affected. This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities, “Bobby Cameron, the head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents First Nations groups in Saskatchewan, said in a statement.

Sanderson’s February probation papers say he was abused at a young age, started drinking at 12 and using cocaine two years later. He bounced between his father’s home in a city and his grandparents’ home on a First Nation reservation, suffering abuse and neglect in both families, according to documents, which have been released to the media.

In the years that followed, Sanderson became aggressive and violent. The probation commission said many of his crimes occurred while he was in a state of intoxication. In meetings, Sanderson admitted that drugs and alcohol would “lose him [his] mind”.

In 2017, he made his way into an ex-girlfriend’s house and made a hole in the bathroom door where the kids hid in a bathtub.

He threw a concrete block at a woman’s car windshield days later threatening to kill an employee in a shop and then burn down her parents’ house.

Sanderson, according to the documents, forced a man to rob a fast-food restaurant by hitting him in the head with a gun and stepping on him.

In 2018, Sanderson got mad at a group of people he was drinking with. He stabbed two of them with a fork and then attacked a man who was walking nearby, beating him until the man lost consciousness in a ditch. During the arrest, Sanderson repeatedly kicked an officer in the face and head.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore at a press conference in Regina on Monday.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore at a press conference in Regina on Monday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

“You can get angry easily when you are drunk, but you are a different person when you are sober,” the probation commission said.

Sanderson, who was serving a federal sentence of four years and four months for assault, assault with weapons, assaulting a peace officer and robbery, was released last August.

His parole was lifted after he failed to verify with his official. But the probation commission still reinstated his legal release.

“It is the council’s opinion that you will not pose an undue risk to society if released on legal release and that your release will help protect the company by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen,” he said.

In its assessment of Sanderson, the probation board seemed confident that the 30-year-old would be able to reintegrate into society after starting to participate in traditional cultural ceremonies, having a proven record of sobriety, and getting consistent housing.

As part of his release, he was banned from consuming drugs and alcohol and required to participate in drug and domestic abuse treatment plans.

In May, he once again failed to communicate with his probation officer and was found to be “illegally fugitive”.

Sanderson’s record shows 59 criminal convictions, many of them related to non-compliance with court orders. Due to his violent behavior, he has a lifetime ban on owning a prohibited weapon.

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