© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: 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/David Stobbe/File Photo
By Valerie Zink
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) -Canadian police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected in a weekend stabbing spree that killed 10 people in and around an indigenous reserve in Saskatchewan and unnerved a country where acts of deadly mass violence are rare.
Myles Sanderson, 30, was taken into custody near the town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan, about 100 km (62 miles) southwest of the area where the killings occurred on Sunday, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP).
His older brother and accused accomplice, Damien Sanderson, 31, was himself found slain on Monday, a day after the stabbing rampage, in a grassy area of the James Smith Cree (NYSE:) Nation.
Police have said they were investigating whether the younger sibling might have killed his brother.
“There is no longer a risk to public safety relating to this investigation,” the RMCP said in an alert announcing the end of the four-day manhunt.
In addition to the 10 victims killed, 18 others were wounded in the rampage, which ranks among the deadliest attacks in Canada’s modern history. Police said some of the victims appeared to have been targeted, while others were apparently random. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/3TIFx2F)
Authorities have offered no motive for the attacks, which occurred on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve, home to some 3,400 people, and the nearby village of Weldon, about 320 km (200 miles) north of the provincial capital of Regina.
The arrest came shortly after the RCMP issued an emergency alert reporting that an unnamed individual believed to be armed with a knife was spotted driving a stolen pickup truck in the town of Wakaw, about an hour’s drive from the reserve.
Police said in that notice they believed the sighting was linked to the manhunt for Sanderson.
His arrest came hours after new details about the victims and the circumstances of their deaths were brought to light by relatives.
During an emotional news conference on Wednesday, Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand revealed his sister, Bonnie Burns, 48, and his 28-year-old nephew, Gregory Burns, were stabbed to death in their front yard on the James Smith Cree reserve between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Burns’ other three sons and two foster children were also home at the time of the attacks.
“She was protecting her son. She was protecting these three little boys. This is why she’s a hero. She’s a true matriarch,” Arcand said of his slain sister.
Thirteen-year-old Dayson Burns was stabbed in the neck but survived, and another young boy in the home hid behind a high chair watching the violence unfold, Arcand said.
“During this difficult time we are just climbing a mountain … and that mountain is the devastation of what happened to our family member,” Arcand told reporters.
Some First Nation leaders have linked the killings to drug use, but police have not cited drugs or alcohol as factors.
Ten of the wounded were still hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon, seven in stable condition and three critical, health authorities said.
Myles Sanderson had been wanted as a fugitive since May when he stopped meeting his parole officer after serving time for assault, robbery and other offenses, CBC News reported. It said he had amassed a criminal record of 59 convictions over two decades.
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said the board will investigate the decision to release Sanderson on parole.