Some victims ‘targeted’ while others attacked randomly: Saskatchewan RCMP

Their location and direction of travel is unknown.

Saskatchewan RCMP were being assisted by various municipal police forces Sunday. Photo: APTN News file

A stabbing rampage in a First Nation in Saskatchewan and a nearby village left 10 people dead and 15 others injured, provincial RCMP said on Sunday as they continued to search for the two suspects in the case.

“We believe some of the victims have been targeted by the suspects and others have been attacked randomly,” Rhonda Blackmore, the assistant commissioner in charge of Saskatchewan RCMP, told reporters in Regina.

“It is horrific what has occurred in our province today.”

Blackmore said the 15 injured were taken to hospital but there may be more who sought medical help on their own.

The attacks took place at 13 different locations on the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon, northeast of Saskatoon, she said.

Blackmore said police began receiving reports before 6 a.m. of stabbings on the First Nation. More reports of attacks quickly followed and by midday police issued a warning that a vehicle reportedly carrying the two suspects had been spotted in Regina.

She declined to comment on how officers know some of the victims were targeted, saying that remains part of the investigation.

Officers began scouring the city and security was boosted at Mosaic Stadium, as thousands of fans descended on the city for a sold out annual Labour Day game between the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

A dangerous persons alert for Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30, was in effect from Alberta to Manitoba.

“If Damien and Myles are listening, or receive this information, I would ask that they turn themselves into police immediately,” said Blackmore.

‘Armed and dangerous’

“They’re considered armed and dangerous … at this point we don’t know if they have changed vehicles since this morning. Their location and direction of travel is unknown.

Damien Sanderson is described as five feet seven inches tall and 155 pounds, and Myles Sanderson as six-foot-one and 200 pounds. Both have black hair and brown eyes and may be driving a black Nissan Rogue with licence plate 119 MPI.

Weldon resident Diane Shier said she was in her garden Sunday morning when she noticed emergency crews a couple of blocks away.

Shier said her neighbour, a man who lived with his grandson, was killed. She did not want to identify the victim out of respect for his family.

“I am very upset because I lost a good neighbour.”

Widowed man

Weldon resident Robert Rush also described the victim as a gentle, widowed man in his 70s. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

He said the victim’s adult grandson was in the basement at the time and phoned police.

“He stayed down there until they were gone.”

Rush said people in Weldon believe the suspects left the village. Later Sunday, he drove to Prince Albert to buy a cake for his wife’s birthday and left his granddaughter at home.

“I gave her two guns and a bat,” Rush said.

The James Smith Cree Nation said it had declared a state of emergency and set up two operations centres to support people in the area.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said multiple patients were being treated at several sites.

“A call for additional staff was issued to respond to the influx of casualties,” authority spokeswoman Anne Linemann said in an email.

Mark Oddan, a spokesman with STARS Air Ambulance, said two helicopters were dispatched from Saskatoon and another from Regina.

He said two carried patients to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, while the third carried a patient to Royal University from a hospital in Melfort, a short distance southeast of Weldon.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe responded to the tragedy on Twitter.

“I want to offer my deepest condolences on behalf of the government and people of Saskatchewan to all of the family and friends of the victims of today’s horrific attacks,” said Moe.

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