Canadian stabbing spree suspect Myles Sanderson died from “medical distress” Wednesday after he was cornered by authorities — ending a four-day manhunt following one of the nation’s deadliest attacks.
Sanderson, 32, was found near the town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan at around 3:30 pm local time, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Saskatchewan announced.
Cops said he went into “medical distress” during his arrest and died.
Sanderson and his 30-year-old brother Damien Sanderson — who was found dead on Monday — were facing murder charges for allegedly killing 10 people and injuring at least 18 others in a stabbing rampage Sunday.
The older brother’s vehicle was rammed off the road by police, an official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press. The official also said the suspect’s injuries were self-inflicted, but he did not say when the injuries occurred or when he died.
The victims in Sunday’s horrific stabbings were found at 13 different crime scenes across the James Smith Cree Nation, home to a large Indigenous community, and the neighboring village of Weldon. Police said some of the victims were targeted, while others were random.
When Damien Sanderson was found dead within the First Nation reserve, he had wounds that did not appear to be self-inflicted, authorities have said. Police are investigating if Myles Sanderson, who has a lengthy criminal record, also killed his brother.
Saskatchewan residents were left waiting helplessly in fear as Myles Sanderson, who has a violent criminal record, evaded authorities for nearly four days. The RCMP issued several emergency alerts urging residents to shelter in place and remain cautious of strangers.
Authorities have not released a motive in the killings, but several of the victims appear to be from one family and one victim had been assaulted and stabbed by Myles Sanderson seven years ago.
Nine of the 10 deceased victims were from the James Smith Cree Nation: Thomas Burns, 23; Carol Burns, 46; Gregory Burns, 28; Lydia Gloria Burns, 61; Bonnie Burns, 48; Earl Burns, 66; Lana Head, 49; and Christian Head, 54 — as well as Robert Sanderson, 49.
One victim, Wesley Patterson, 78, was from the tiny village of Weldon, which has a population of about 200.
Some relatives of the victims went to the scene Wednesday, including Brian Burns.
“Now we can start to heal,” said Burns, who lost his wife and son. “The healing begins, how.”
Myles Sanderson — who is Indigenous and was raised on the Cree reserve himself — previously attacked Earl Burns and Joyce Burns, who are his in-laws, in 2015. He repeatedly stabbed Earl Burns and later pleaded guilty to assault and threatening the man’s life, according to court documents.
He has been wanted since May for violating the terms of his release from prison in February and his arrest records show a violent past fueled by drugs and alcohol.
In 2017, he barged into an ex-girlfriend’s home and punched a hole through the door of a bathroom where his two children were hiding in a tub. Days later, he got into a fight at a store and threatened to kill an employee and burn down his parents’ home.
That November, he threatened a man into robbing a fast-food restaurant by stomping on his head and pistol-whipping him.
In 2018, he stabbed two men with a fork and beat someone unconscious while he had been drinking.
Myles Sanderson was sentenced to more than four years in prison on assault and robbery charges. He was released by a parole board in February — which has raised concern by Canadian officials.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said there will be an investigation into the parole board’s assessment of Sanderson and decision to release the violent criminal.
“I want to know the reasons behind the decision,” Mendicino said. “I’m extremely concerned with what happened here. A community has been left reeling.”
Sanderson committed many of his crimes while under the influence, court documents show. He told parole officers that substance use made him out of his mind, but he continued to drink and use drugs despite court orders barring him from doing so.
Canada’s Indigenous communities have been plagued by substance abuse.
“The drug problem and the alcohol problem on these reserves is way out of hand,” said Ivor Wayne Burns, whose sister was killed in the weekend attacks. “We have dead people and we asked before for something to be done.”
Indigenous leaders also blamed the violence on the epidemic of drug use in the First Nation communities.
“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities, and we demand all authorities to take direction from the chiefs and councils and their membership to create safer and healthier communities for our people,” Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said.
With post wires