Massive stabbing in Canada: What we know about the Saskatchewan attack that left 10 dead and 15 injured

Massive stabbing in Canada: What we know about the Saskatchewan attack that left 10 dead and 15 injured
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The suspects, identified by police as Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson, are said to be driving a black Nissan Rogue with Saskatchewan registration 119 MPI Royal Canadian Mounted Police said, noting that it’s unclear if the couple may have switched vehicles.
The leaders of the James Smith Cree Nation declared a state of emergency Sunday in response to “numerous killings and assaults” on members of the community, it said a press release. There was also at least one attack in the neighboring community of Weldon, police said.

“It is certainly a very significant event, if not the largest we have seen in recent years,” said Rhonda Blackmore, Assistant Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Some victims appear to have been targeted while others were believed to have been attacked indiscriminately, police said.

Authorities are urging area residents to be vigilant and to take precautionary measures, including placement in some communities, as the suspects are still at large. The policy issued a “Civil Emergency” Alert warns those in the Regina area to be extra cautious after police received a report the suspects may have traveled there.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and devastated” by the violent attacks.

“As Canadians, we mourn with all affected by this tragic violence and with the people of Saskatchewan. We also wish those injured a full and speedy recovery,” Trudeau said in a statement Sunday night.

As the manhunt continues, here’s what we know.

How did the attacks evolve?

Police received the first report of a stabbing on the James Smith Cree Nation at 5:40 a.m., and within minutes several more calls were coming in reporting other stabbings throughout the community, police said.

Within hours, the situation escalated into a mass stabbing event, killing at least 25 people, 10 of whom died, police said.

Three STARS Air Ambulance helicopters were dispatched to the James Smith Cree Nation during the attack, company spokesman Mark Oddan told CNN. The first crew to arrive jumped into casualty triage and the second plane brought in a doctor to help with triage and direct emergency response, he said.

Helicopter crews took some victims to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon and several other patients were taken to local hospitals by ground ambulance, Oddan said. He was unable to give any details about the patients or their condition.

During the morning, police issued several dangerous-person alerts that spread to the province of Saskatchewan and the neighboring areas of Manitoba and Alberta.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino asked residents seek shelter.
A police forensic team is investigating a crime scene in the stabbing that killed 10 people.

“To everyone in Saskatchewan, especially those near James Smith Cree First Nation territory, please protect yourself where you are and stay safe,” he tweeted.

Authorities have identified 13 different locations where the attacks took place. There could be other victims who were injured and took themselves to hospital, police said, urging potential victims to contact law enforcement.

“Our thoughts are with the many deceased and injured victims, their families, friends and the community. It is appalling what happened in our province today,” Blackmore said.

Who are the suspects?

Less than three hours after the initial attack was reported, police identified Damian Sanderson and Myles Sanderson as suspects in the stabbing.

Damien Sanderson, 31, is described by authorities as 5ft 7in tall and weighing 155lbs with black hair and brown eyes. Myles Sanderson, 30, is 6ft 1in tall and weighs 240lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes, according to police.

Officials have not said if the couple are related.

Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson

The vehicle they are believed to be driving was reportedly sighted in Regina around 11:45 a.m., police said. Regina is more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the James Smith Cree Nation.

“As such, everyone in the province must remain vigilant and immediately report suspicious activity by calling 911,” Blackmore said in a statement Sunday. “If you see the suspects and/or their vehicle, do not approach them or their vehicle, exit the area immediately and call 911.”

In a message to the two suspects, Blackmore said: “If Damien and Myles hear or receive this information, I would ask them to give themselves to the police immediately.”

What was the officials’ reaction?

The violent attacks have rocked Canadian residents and officials as law enforcement officials rush to apprehend the suspects.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe offered his condolences to the people of the province tweet.

“There are no words to adequately describe the pain and loss caused by this senseless violence. All of Saskatchewan mourns with the victims and their families,” Moe wrote.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba are jointly investigating the stabbings.

Saskatchewan RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore speaks during a news conference Sunday.

“We are dedicating the highest level of resources to this investigation,” Blackmore said.

Two emergency centers have been set up to “provide health support” to affected communities, James Smith Cree Nation leaders said in a statement.

In response to the stabbings, the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League announced increased security at their game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday. The Roughriders play at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

“The club operates a centralized command center on match day, allowing instant connection to local emergency services and the ability to receive updated information in the event of an emergency,” the team said in a statement on Twitter.

CNN’s Paula Newton and Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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