Stabbing suspect dies in custody

The death of two suspects obscures their motive

September 9, 2022

ROSTHERN, Canada (AFP) — A days-long search for the second man suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing spree in a remote western Canadian Indigenous community ended Wednesday, with the 32-year-old dying after being taken into custody, police said.

Federal police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore told a news conference that Myles Sanderson, suspected along with his brother of killing 10 people and wounding 18 on Sunday, “went into medical distress” shortly after being arrested in Saskatchewan province.

She added that he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, but gave no other details of the circumstances.

On Monday, his 31-year-old brother Damien Sanderson had been found dead in a grassy field in the Cree community.

Authorities said he likely had been killed by his older sibling, who remained a fugitive until his arrest near the town of Rosthern in Saskatchewan — about 100 kilometers west of where the stabbings occurred.

Blackmore said that with both brothers now dead, “we may never have an understanding of (their) motivation.”

The manhunt had stretched across three provinces, and gone from Regina, Saskatchewan province’s capital 300 kilometers to the south, and then back to the James Smith Cree Nation — in response to reported sightings.

‘Senseless act’

An hour before the arrest, police issued an alert about a man armed with a knife in a stolen white Chevrolet Avalanche nearby, making a link to the stabbing case and urging locals to shelter in place.

Blackmore said police, after receiving an emergency call about the theft, spotted the speeding vehicle and “directed (it) off the road and into a nearby ditch.”

“He was arrested by police and taken into custody,” she said. “A knife was located inside the vehicle.”

It was a dramatic end to a four-day manhunt across the vast Prairies region.

Myles Sanderson had a history of explosive violence that led to 59 past convictions, and was also wanted for breaching parole in May after serving part of a sentence for assault and robbery.

But with no known motive for the latest attacks, relatives of victims spoke out earlier Wednesday about their “nightmare” and called for answers from authorities.

Mark Arcand said the killings that claimed the lives of his sister Bonnie Burns, 48, and her son Gregory Burns, 28, were a “horrible, senseless act.”

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