Suspects on the run after Canada stabbing rampage

·3-min read

Canadian police issued warrants on Monday for the arrests of two fugitives who are the target of a massive manhunt after allegedly carrying out a stabbing spree that killed 10 people, while the number of wounded rose to 18.

The killings in the remote James Smith Cree Nation Indigenous community and the town of Weldon in Saskatchewan are among the deadliest incidents of mass violence to ever hit the nation.

Police have been scouring Saskatchewan and two neighboring provinces for the men, whose motives remain unclear, since early Sunday.

Evan Bray, police chief of provincial capital Regina, said that the two suspects may hiding out in the city -- 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the site of the attack -- after suspected sightings in the area.

They "are still at large, despite relentless efforts" to locate them, Bray said.

"There's a lot of grief. There's a lot of anxiety in our province and in our communities," he added, vowing to continue the pursuit until the suspects are caught.

Federal police announced several murder, attempted murder and burglary charges have been laid against the pair, adding that "further charges are anticipated as the investigation progresses."

Police have released few details of the crimes, except for descriptions of the alleged attackers they say fled in a vehicle.

They have been identified as Myles and Damien Sanderson, aged 30 and 31 respectively, both with black hair and brown eyes.

Myles Sanderson was also wanted for breaching parole. Public broadcaster CBC said he vanished in May after serving part of a five-year sentence for assault and robbery.

- 'Terrified' residents -

Local residents spoke of their shock and devastation, and have identified two of the victims as a 77-year-old widower and a 49-year-old mother of two.

Weldon resident Diane Shier told the daily Saskatoon Star Phoenix her neighbor -- the widower -- lived with his adult grandson, who hid in the basement and called police.

"It was about 7:30 am. My husband was in the garden. He saw police cars and an ambulance come to town. It's a little town. This is terrible, terrible. We've still got our doors locked, staying inside, not going out," she told the newspaper.

Fellow town resident Ruby Works said the killings would haunt the town.

"No one in this town is ever going to sleep again. They're going to be terrified to open their door," Works said.

Another resident, Robert Rush, said he had left his granddaughter at home to go buy a birthday cake for his wife. "I gave her two guns and a bat," he said.

Police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said that authorities believe some of the victims were targeted and others were attacked randomly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks," adding in a statement that Canadians are mourning this "tragic violence."

The flag on parliament was lowered in memory of the victims.

- 13 crime scenes -

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron lamented "the unspeakable violence that claimed the lives of innocent people."

In a statement, he blamed "harmful illegal drugs (that) invade our communities" for the destruction.

Blackmore said "maximum" police resources were being deployed for the search for the suspects across Saskatchewan and neighboring Alberta and Manitoba provinces.

"We are using every human, investigational and technological resource we have available to locate and arrest the persons responsible for this tragedy," she said Monday.

Forensic teams could be seen in broadcast images combing 13 crime scenes in the Indigenous community and Weldon for clues, as the manhunt across a huge region continued.

The Red Cross, meanwhile, told AFP it was helping provide support to victims' families and the affected communities.

In recent years, Canada has witnessed a rampaging gunman masquerading as a policeman kill 22 people in Nova Scotia, another kill six and wound five worshippers at a Quebec City mosque, and a driver of a van kill 11 pedestrians in Toronto.

Foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, sent messages of condolences, calling the attack "horrific" and "brutal."

amc/bgs