Saskatchewan

Fugitive suspect in Saskatchewan stabbing rampage is dead

The main suspect in the recent stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan has died shortly after being captured.

Myles Sanderson went into medical distress shortly after arrest: RCMP

Myles Sanderson, the main suspect in a Saskatchewan mass killing, died shortly after he was arrested on Wednesday, according to the RCMP. (Saskatchewan RCMP/The Canadian Press)

The main suspect in the recent stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan died Wednesday afternoon shortly after police captured him.

Myles Sanderson went into medical distress after he was arrested and was pronounced dead at a hospital in Saskatoon, Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, told a news conference Wednesday night.

Ten people were left dead and another 18 injured in the James Smith Cree Nation area and the nearby village of Weldon, Sask., over the Labour Day weekend. Those tallies do not include Myles or his brother, Damien Sanderson, who was also facing charges before he was found dead on Monday. 

RCMP say Myles was arrested near Rosthern, Sask., at about 3:30 p.m. CST Wednesday, shortly after RCMP issued an alert saying a person with a knife was travelling in a vehicle and had last been seen in Wakaw, about 90 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Blackmore said the RCMP doesn't have a motive for the attacks. 

"Now that Myles is deceased we may never have an understanding of that motivation," she said.

She expressed relief that Myles is no longer on the run. 

"This evening our province is breathing a collective sigh of relief."

The RCMP has asked Saskatoon police and the Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) to conduct an independent investigation into circumstances surrounding Myles's death, Blackmore said.

WATCH | Police say Myles Sanderson went into medical distress after arrest:

Accused Sask. killer Myles Sanderson dies shortly after arrest

3 months ago
Duration 6:03
Myles Sanderson, the man accused of killing multiple people in a string of stabbings in Saskatchewan Sunday, was taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon and died sometime after that.
 

Broke into house, stole truck

CBC News spoke with a man who says Myles broke into his mother's rural property, about 30 kilometres northeast of Wakaw, around 2 p.m. CST.

CBC has agreed not to name the woman or her son because she was the victim of an alleged crime. The woman is extremely shaken up by what happened, according to her son.

The son said his mother, a widow, saw Myles walk up to the front door, which was locked, and ran into the bathroom in her bedroom, locking both the bedroom and bathroom doors.

She had her cellphone and was trying to call police when Myles smashed the front, bedroom and bathroom doors. 

The son said Myles was armed with a knife, but told the woman that he wouldn't hurt her.

Myles took the keys to the woman's truck, along with her cellphone, cigarettes, water and a Pepsi, the son said.

Myles asked the woman to go with him, according to her son, but she refused believing that he would kill her. 

When Myles left the property, the woman called a relative using a landline who then called RCMP, the son said.

Sanderson allegedly broke into this house Wednesday afternoon, according to the occupant's son. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Blackmore confirmed the details about the break and enter and stolen truck. She said the woman was not injured. 

Myles was alone when he was arrested, but Blackmore said RCMP couldn't say if he was alone all day. They will be investigating whether anyone assisted him while he was on the run. 

Immense relief

Before news of his death, people expressed immense relief that Myles was caught. 

Darryl Burns, brother of Lydia Gloria Burns, a front-line worker who died in the rampage, said the family can now prepare for his sister's return and is planning a wake for her tonight.

WATCH | Generosity, compassion in grieving communities:

'I hope that now you will be able to start healing': Sask. RCMP commanding officer

3 months ago
Duration 1:05
Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the commanding officer of Saskatchewan RCMP, talks about how she visited the James Cree Smith Nation, Weldon, and Melfort communities and saw the generosity and compassion their residents shared.

The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) also said in a statement before the arrest that it was relieved Myles had been arrested.

"Now people can start to feel safe again but also now is the time for healing to begin," said STC Chief Mark Arcand, who lost his sister and nephew in the attacks. 

Dennis Helmuth, mayor of Rosthern, which is about six kilometres from where the arrest was made, said the town is feeling some comfort today. 

"Mostly a feeling of relief and I think incredible sadness is going to become dominant as we continue to come to grips with what has happened in our province," he said. 

Authorities had been searching for Myles since Sunday.

Myles was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and breaking and entering. His brother, Damien, was also facing charges before he was found dead on Monday.

Two RCMP officers stand near two RCMP vehicles on a highway under a partially coudly sky.
RCMP officers stand on Highway 11 near Rosthern, Sask., after Sanderson was arrested. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Support is available for anyone affected by the latest reports. You can talk to a mental health professional via Wellness Together Canada by calling 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth or 741741 for adults. It is free and confidential. 

The Hope for Wellness hotline offers immediate help to Indigenous people across Canada. Mental health counselling and crisis support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yasmine Ghania is a reporter with CBC News, currently based in Saskatoon. Her work is featured on both national and local platforms. She has uncovered sexual abuse allegations at a private Christian school and deep problems within a police force in Saskatchewan. You can reach her confidentially by email: yasmine.ghania@cbc.ca or https://www.cbc.ca/securedrop/

With files from Karen Pauls and Dan Zakreski

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