Saskatchewan stabbings: What happened throughout 4-day-long manhunt

WATCH: Saskatchewan RCMP confirmed at a news conference on Wednesday that Myles Sanderson, a suspect in one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history, died after being in police custody.

A man who was wanted in connection with one of the worst mass killings in recent Canadian history has been captured, Saskatchewan RCMP say.

Myles Sanderson, 32, who had been on the lam since Sunday, was apprehended near Rosthern, Sask., on Wednesday, bringing an end to a four-day-long manhunt that captured national and international attention.

Shortly after his arrest, Sanderson went into medical distress and was pronounced dead in hospital in Saskatoon, RCMP confirmed Wednesday night. Police did not say exactly how he died, but multiple law enforcement sources told Global News they believe he succumbed to self-inflicted injuries.

Myles’ brother, Damien Sanderson, was also wanted and was found dead in James Smith Cree Nation on Monday.

Ten other people were killed in the attacks that unfolded across 13 sites in the nation and nearby Weldon. Another 18 people were injured, including two people who remain in critical condition in hospitals.

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On Monday, the RCMP announced charges against Myles and Damien, saying they face multiple counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and break and enter.

Myles was already wanted for being unlawfully at large before the stabbings, according to Crime Stoppers. Global News reported Monday the Parole Board of Canada found in February that Myles would not “present an undue risk,” and that freeing him would “contribute to the protection of society” by facilitating his reintegration. He had a lengthy criminal history.

The stabbings sent shockwaves through Saskatchewan and the nation. Leaders from Canada and around the world have condemned the attacks.

Here’s a timeline of what’s happened so far in chronological order:

Around 5:40 a.m. Saskatchewan time, local RCMP begins to receive multiple calls from James Smith Cree Nation about stabbings at different locations. Around 7:12 a.m., RCMP issues a dangerous persons alert as police begin the search for two suspects. Residents in nearby communities are told to seek immediate shelter and use caution.

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The two men are later identified as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 32; the public is advised to contact police if they are spotted. RCMP later say they believe the men are travelling in a car, and alert authorities in neighbouring Alberta and Manitoba of the situation. Witnesses later report seeing the suspect vehicle, a black Nissan Rogue with Saskatchewan licence plate 119 MPI, in the Regina area.

In the afternoon, RCMP give the first details of the fatalities: 10 dead and 15 injured in 13 locations across James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon. The leaders of James Smith Cree Nation later declare a state of emergency, which is expected to last until Sept. 30.

Saksatchewan Stabbings

RCMP is trying to locate the two male suspects, Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson. Damien Sanderson is 5’7” and 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Myles Sanderson is 6’1” and 200 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Courtesy of Sask. RCMP

The government of Saskatchewan announces collaboration with local RCMP and police. It also activates provincial command, according to a statement, and said it’s increasing security at area hospitals.

Following a whirlwind day, Regina police say Monday morning the two suspects remain at large. Chief Evan Bray appeals to the public for information, and said they’re confident someone knows of their whereabouts.

“There’s a lot of grief, there’s a lot of anxiety in our province and in our communities this morning and all day yesterday,” he said.

“Really, I think an important step for families and communities working through this would be to bring these two safely into custody.”

Saskatchewan Stabbings

At least 10 people died in 13 different locations as a result of a series of stabbings that occurred Sunday morning on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Saskatchewan. Two men wanted in the murders may have last been seen in in Regina, RCMP said Sunday.

Global News Graphic

In the afternoon, RCMP announce the two men are being charged with multiple offences, including several counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and break and enter. More charges are expected as the investigation unfolds, RCMP said.

During that update, the number of people injured increased to 18 from the 15 initially reported injured on Sunday, RCMP said.

A few hours later, RCMP say Damien Sanderson was found dead near a home in the James Smith Cree Nation. His injuries were not believed to be self-inflicted. The cause of death was unclear.

The two were brothers, officials confirm. Myles Sanderson is still believed to be in Regina with an unknown person. He may also be injured, police say, but is still considered armed and dangerous. Police said they were investigating whether Myles may also have killed his brother.

Myles was already wanted for being unlawfully at large before the stabbings, according to Crime Stoppers. Global News reports the Parole Board of Canada found Myles in February would not “present an undue risk,” and freeing him would “contribute to the protection of society” by facilitating his reintegration.

Read more:

Saskatchewan stabbing suspect was not considered a risk by parole board, report shows

Saskatchewan RCMP confirm no children were among the deceased. The youngest victim was born in 1999.

Although RCMP won’t release details about the conditions of those injured, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says Monday that four patients are in critical condition in hospitals across the province.

The search for Myles Sanderson continues into its third day.

Leaders of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations issued an urgent appeal overnight to find him, begging those with knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward to help end this tragedy without any more loss of life.

Read more:

Brothers mourn slain sister, a counsellor ‘trying to make a difference’ in James Smith Cree Nation

On Tuesday afternoon, RCMP descend on James Smith Cree Nation for a possible sighting of Myles Sanderson. Residents are told to seek immediate shelter and to shelter in place.

After searching for over three hours, police determine Sanderson is not in the community. A provincewide alert remains in place in Saskatchewan, with residents urged to “take appropriate precautions.”

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‘Senseless and devastating’: World leaders react to Saskatchewan stabbings

Due to a blanket media ban, media are not allowed on reserve land or to speak to any of its members. Some roads in the area were cordoned off as police searched for Sanderson.

Sources tell Global News police were going door-to-door searching for the fugitive, and officers with dogs were searching the wider reserve. Police in body armour swarmed the reserve’s health clinic and band office, where emergency vehicles congregated.

A police helicopter flew overhead and RCMP vehicles and ambulances streamed onto the reserve at regular intervals throughout the afternoon. Several armoured vehicles also ploughed in.

Over the course of three-and-a-half hours, police remained tight-lipped about the operation going on inside the reserve.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says of the 17 injured victims admitted to hospitals across the province, three patients remain in critical condition. Seven more are in stable condition but remain in hospital, while the other seven have been discharged.

Regina Police Chief Bray says Tuesday evening that information has been received suggesting Myles Sanderson may no longer be in the Regina area.

The search for Myles Sanderson continues for a fourth day.

RCMP, meanwhile, release the names of the victims who died in the attacks. They are: 23-year-old Thomas Burns, 46-year-old Carol Burns, 28-year-old Gregory Burns, 61-year-old Lydia Gloria Burns, 48-year-old Bonnie Burns, 66-year-old Earl Burns, 49-year-old Lana Head, 54-year-old Christian Head, 49-year-old Robert Sanderson and 78-year-old Wesley Petterson.

Patterson was from Weldon, Sask., while the rest of the victims were from James Smith Cree Nation.

The RCMP adds the identities of those injured will not be released.

“We can confirm one young teen was injured and the remaining injured are all adults,” it said. “We will not be confirming other specific ages. Injured victims encompass both males and females.”

“How can somebody do this to women and children?” said Mark Arcand, brother to Bonnie Burns and uncle to Gregory Burns, during a news conference on Wednesday.

“Words can’t express the pain that we’re feeling.”

On Wednesday afternoon, RCMP issue an emergency alert for Wakaw, Sask., after a man armed with a knife is reported driving a stolen pickup truck in the area. Residents are advised to shelter in place.

At 3:30 p.m. local time, RCMP say Myles Sanderson was located and taken into custody near Rosthern, Sask. Sources tell Global News that Sanderson’s vehicle was rammed by police, causing it to spin off the highway.

Police later confirm that Sanderson was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after being taken into custody. Global News first reported Sanderson’s death citing multiple law enforcement sources, who believed he died from self-inflicted injuries, which RCMP have not confirmed.

“This evening, our province can breathe a sigh of relief,” Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore said Wednesday night.

Blackmore confirms Sanderson died despite lifesaving efforts by officers and paramedics at the scene of the arrest. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, she says, but the results will not be released due to the ongoing investigation.

RCMP have requested an independent investigation into the arrest and Sanderson’s death.

Blackmore says the deaths of both Myles and Damien, who is still considered a suspect in the attacks, means their motive may never be known.

“His motivation may, at this time and forever, may only be known to Myles,” she said.

More to come.

— With files from Global News’ Ashleigh Stewart, Andrew Benson and Aishwarya Dudha, and The Canadian Press.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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