WELDON: A manhunt extended for a third day on Tuesday in the search for a suspect accused of multiple deadly stabbings in a remote Canadian Indigenous community and nearby town, with no motive yet known for the rampage.

The attack in the James Smith Cree Nation Indigenous community and the town of Weldon in Saskatchewan province on Sunday left 10 dead and 18 wounded.

An intense hunt across the vast Prairies region for two brothers believed responsible — Myles and Damien Sanderson, aged 30 and 31 respectively — narrowed after the older sibling was found dead on Monday.

Damien Sanderson’s mutilated body was “located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined” in the James Smith Cree Nation, police assistant commissioner Rhonda Blackmore told a news conference late Monday.

The younger Sanderson — who is also wanted for breaching parole in May after serving part of a sentence for assault and robbery — is suspected of having killed his brother, she said.

He remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous. “He may be injured and seek medical attention,” Blackmore added. According to Evan Bray, police chief of the provincial capital Regina, Myles Sanderson could be hiding out in the city — 300 kilometres from the site of the attack — after fleeing in a vehicle.

Authorities across Saskatchewan and two neighboring provinces, along with Canada-US border officials remain on high alert for the suspect, who has a history of explosive violence that led to nearly 60 past criminal convictions.

Residents hide indoors

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the attacks shocking and heartbreaking, while lamenting that “tragedies like these have become all too commonplace.” Since 2017, Canada has witnessed a gunman masquerading as a policeman kill 22 people in Nova Scotia, another kill six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque, and a driver of a van kill 11 pedestrians in Toronto.

In the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon, residents described overwhelming grief and fear.

“Both communities are destroyed. All lives are shattered,” Ruby Works told public broadcaster CBC. She named her friend and Weldon neighbor Wes Petterson, a 77-year-old widower, as among those killed.

“If someone needed a hand, he helped. He was a kind-hearted man,” Works said. “He didn’t deserve this.” Residents of the small town are terrified, she added, many staying locked indoors. The James Smith Cree Nation has asked for privacy as they mourn.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2022

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