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

The suspects, identified by police as Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson, are believed to be traveling in a black Nissan Rogue with Saskatchewan license plate 119 MPI, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said, noting it’s unclear whether the pair may have changed vehicles.
Leaders of the James Smith Cree Nation declared a state of emergency Sunday in response to “numerous murders and assaults” on members of the community, according to a news release. At least one attack also occurred in the neighboring community of Weldon, police said.

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

Some victims appear to have been targeted, while others are believed to have been attacked randomly, police said.

Authorities are urging residents in the area to be vigilant and take precautions, including sheltering in place in some communities, as the suspects are still at large. The police issued a “civil emergency” alert warning those in the Regina area to be especially careful after police received a report the suspects may have been traveling there.

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

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

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

How did the attacks unfold?

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 came in reporting other stabbings throughout the community, police said.

Within hours, the situation developed into a mass stabbing event with at least 25 victims, 10 of whom died, police said.

Three helicopters from STARS Air Ambulance were dispatched to James Smith Cree Nation during the attack, company spokesperson Mark Oddan told CNN. The first crew to arrive jumped into triage the victims and the second aircraft brought a physician to help with triage and lead the emergency response, he said.

The helicopter crews took some victims to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon and several other patients were brought to local hospitals by ground ambulances, Oddan said. He was not able to provide details on the patients or their conditions.

Multiple dangerous persons alerts were issued by police over the course of the morning, expanding across the Saskatchewan province and into neighboring Manitoba and Alberta.

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino asked residents to take shelter.
A police forensics team investigates a crime scene in the stabbing spree that left 10 dead.

“To everyone in Saskatchewan, especially those in proximity to the James Smith Cree First Nation area, please shelter in place and stay safe,” he tweeted.

Authorities have identified 13 separate scenes where the attacks took place. There may be additional victims who were injured and transported themselves to the hospital, police said, urging possible victims to contact law enforcement.

“Our thoughts are with the many victims deceased and injured, their family, friends and community. It is horrific what has occurred in our province today,” Blackmore said.

Who are the suspects?

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

Damien Sanderson, 31, is described by authorities as 5 feet 7 inches tall and 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Myles Sanderson, 30, is 6 feet 1 inch tall and 240 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police.

Officials haven’t said whether the pair are related.

Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson

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

“This is why we need everyone in the province to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity by calling 911 immediately,” Blackmore said in a statement Sunday. “If you see the suspects and/or their vehicle, do not approach them or their vehicle, immediately leave the area, and call 911.”

In a message to the two suspects, Blackmore said, “If Damien and Myles are listening or receive this information, I would ask that they turn themselves into police immediately.”

What has been the response by officials?

The violent attacks have shaken Canadian residents and officials as law enforcement is rushing to apprehend the suspects.

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

“There are no words to adequately describe the pain and loss caused by this senseless violence. All of Saskatchewan grieves 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 a maximum number of resources to this investigation,” Blackmore said.

Two emergency centers were set up to “provide health support” to the impacted communities, the leaders of the James Smith Cree Nation said in a statement.

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

“The Club operates a centralized command centre on game day that allows immediate connection to local emergency services and the ability to receive up to the minute information when any sort of emergency occurs,” the team said in a statement on Twitter.

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