Inquest set to hear from first officers who responded to mass killing in Saskatchewan

The first Mounties to respond to a stabbing rampage on James Smith Cree Nation are expected to testify on the third day of an inquest looking into the killings.

Myles Sanderson killed 11 people and injured 17 others on James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon on Sept. 4, 2022.

Sanderson, who was 32, died in police custody a few days later.

The inquest has heard how Sanderson and his brother, Damien Sanderson, were causing chaos on the community in the days before the attacks.

The inquest heard Tuesday in an overview about how the attacks unfolded that Damien Sanderson was the first person killed by his brother.

Myles Sanderson then went from home to home, armed with a knife, kicking in doors and stabbing people.

The inquest has heard 911 calls from some of the first victims and been shown video from the vehicles of officers speeding into the community.

Family members held each other and cried as the inquest also heard details of how each person was killed.

The inquest, which is being held in Melfort, northeast of Saskatoon, is to establish the events leading up to the killings, who died, and when and where each person was killed.

A second inquest focusing on Myles Sanderson’s death is scheduled for February.

Staff Sgt. Robin Zentner, with the RCMP major crimes unit, testified Mounties uncovered texts between the brothers and some victims in the days before the attacks that mentioned drug sales and debts.

But Zentner said there’s no indication the killings were gang-related and some were clearly random.

RCMP have said because the killer is dead, people may never get all the answers about what happened.

Keith Brown, the lawyer representing the First Nation, said the details provided about how each victim died were very difficult.

The First Nation is looking for more specific information from the responding officers, Brown added.

In the days to come, the First Nation also wants to highlight how the parole board should be working with Indigenous communities to notify them when members are released from prison, Brown said.

Sanderson, who had a record of violent assaults, received statutory release earlier in 2022 but was unlawfully at large at the time of the killings.

The inquest is scheduled for at least two weeks.

Story by Kelly Geraldine Malone.

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