10 people killed in Sask. stabbing attacks identified by RCMP

The RCMP and the Saskatchewan Coroners Service have released a comprehensive list of the deceased victims of a series of stabbings on the weekend, as police continue to search for the suspect who has evaded them since Sunday.

Myles Sanderson, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and breaking and entering for his role in the stabbings that led to 10 dead and 18 injured in the James Smith Cree Nation area and in nearby village Weldon, Sask. 

Those tallies don’t include Sanderson or his brother, Damien Sanderson, 31, who was also facing charges before he was found dead Monday.

Here is comprehensive list of deceased victims as provided by RCMP:

  • Thomas Burns, 23, of James Smith Cree Nation. 
  • Carol Burns, 46, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Gregory Burns, 28, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Lydia Gloria Burns, 61, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Bonnie Burns, 48, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Earl Burns, 66, of James Smith Cree Nation. 
  • Lana Head, 49, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Christian Head, 54, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Robert Sanderson, 49, of James Smith Cree Nation.
  • Wesley Petterson, 78, of Weldon.
Composite illustration shows James Smith Cree Nation stabbing victims: top row (L-R) Thomas Burns, Carol Burns, Gregory Burns, Lydia Gloria Burns and Bonnie Burns. Bottom row (L-R): Lana Head, Christian Head, Robert Sanderson, Wesley Petterson and Earl Burns Sr. (Saskatchewan RCMP, Sask First Nations Veterans Association/Facebook)

RCMP said it will not be identifying or confirming relationships of the deceased identified.

It also said the identities or ages of the wounded would not be released, but confirmed one young teen was injured while the remaining were adults.

The Saskatoon Tribal Council is expected to hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. CST related to the attacks. 

WATCH | ‘My heart aches’: Stories about Saskatchewan stabbing victims emerge: 

Mother, veteran, first responder among victims of Sask. stabbings

Stories are emerging about some of the victims of the stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan. Among those who lost their lives: a beloved mother of five, a veteran, and a community first responder who her family says was trying to help when she was killed.

A Tuesday update to the RCMP’s dangerous persons alert, first sent out Sunday, warned residents of James Smith Cree Nation, about 170 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, that the suspect could be in the area and asked people to shelter in place just before noon.

About three hours later, RCMP say an investigation determined he was not there and his whereabouts are unknown. 

On Sunday, the same day the dangerous persons alert was issued, police received a report that the vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving, a black Nissan Rogue with licence plate 119 MPI, had been spotted in Regina. 

Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, told CBC News Tuesday afternoon that RCMP doesn’t know if Sanderson is still in Regina, and called the previous report “quite stale.”

In this image taken from video, law enforcement surrounded a residence on James Smith Cree First Nation Tuesday as they search for suspect Myles Sanderson in a series of stabbings. (Robert Bumsted/The Associated Press)

“Although we don’t know his whereabouts, we are still looking not only within the city of Regina but expanded into the province as well,” Regina police chief Evan Bray said in a video posted to social media Tuesday shortly before 6 p.m. CST.

On Sunday, the dangerous persons alert was expanded to Alberta and Manitoba. That multiprovincial alert was called down Wednesday morning in both Alberta and Manitoba, but remains in place in Saskatchewan.

Sanderson is described as six foot one inches and about 240 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Wes Petterson, a 78-year-old widower from Weldon, has also been identified as a victim in the killing spree. Flowers have been placed around his home.  (Don Somers/CBC)

Prayers and condolences for families, friends

Groups and organizations continue to offer prayers and condolences to those affected by one of the largest mass murders in Saskatchewan history.

Queen Elizabeth is the most recent voice in a chorus of prayers and condolences being offered to people who are grieving in the wake of the recent mass killing. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with those recovering from injuries, and grieving such horrific losses,” she said. 

“I mourn with all Canadians at this tragic time.”

On Tuesday, the Peace Tower in Ottawa flew the Canadian flag at half-mast until sunset, while all federal buildings in Saskatchewan are flying the Canadian flag at half-mast until further notice. 

Premier Scott Moe’s office has said flags at provincial government buildings will be lowered to half-mast for 10 days — one day for each victim of the killings. 

Universities, school boards, municipal governments and other organizations in the province have said the same, lowering their flags to half-mast. Many have already made statements of condolence and prayer to the bereaved.

The Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert First Nation University campuses will hold a candlelight and prayer vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m. CST.

“On behalf of students, faculty, staff, alumni, executive and Elders of the First Nations University of Canada, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the victims of the senseless acts of violence in James Smith Cree Nation and the town of Weldon, and their families, friends, and communities,” the university said in a statement. 

“Collectively, we feel the shock, so together, we will mourn, pray and heal.”

A GoFundMe created by Rob Clarke, a former MP and RCMP member, has raised nearly $112,000 from more than 1,900 donations.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents 74 First Nation communities, including James Smith Cree Nation, said the fundraising campaign will close now that it reached its $100,000 goal.

As of Wednesday morning, it remained open.

“The leadership of James Smith Cree Nation is grateful to all the donors who have contributed funds to support its affected members,” the organization said in a statement.

“Please help us spread the word that any other crowdfunding campaigns have not been endorsed by James Smith Cree Nation, nor [the James Smith Cree Nation Emergency Operations Centre].”

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