Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service and Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided the names and ages of the victims in a statement Wednesday, but declined to confirm the relationship between them. Six of the victims share the last name Burns, two share the last name Head and one shares the last name of the two suspects in the attacks.
Petterson is from Weldon, Saskatchewan, while the other nine victims are from the James Smith Cree Nation.
In addition, 18 people were injured in the stabbing attacks, but authorities will not release their identities. “We can confirm that a young teenager was injured and the others injured are all adults. We will not confirm other specific ages,” the agencies said.
Police have warned that Myles Sanderson could be injured. He is wanted on a warrant for three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder and breaking and entering a residence.
On Tuesday, police reported a potential sighting of Sanderson to the James Smith Cree Nation, but police later determined he was not in the community. The search has spanned the entire province of Saskatchewan, authorities said.
Some of the victims were apparently targeted, police say
It remains unclear what prompted the violence and how or if the brothers knew any of the victims.
Some were apparently targeted while others may have been randomly attacked, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said in a press briefing on Monday.
It’s also unclear if the brothers carried out the attacks at the same time, according to Blackmore.
The first stab wound was reported on James Smith’s Cree Nation at 5:40 a.m. local time. Minutes later, several more calls came in regarding stabbings at other locations, police said.
The nation has a population of about 3,400 people with about 1,800 members living on the reservation, according to its website.
As of 9:45 a.m., authorities were reporting casualties at multiple locations, including one in Weldon.
Lydia Gloria Burns, First Responder, was responding to a crisis call when she was caught up in the violence and killed, her brother Darryl Burns told Reuters, although the agency did not say whether the call was related to the stabbing.
“She was slaughtered,” her brother Ivor Burns told Reuters.
The discovery of Damien Sanderson’s body a day after the attacks also raised questions about his brother’s involvement in his death. But police said on Monday it was unclear whether Myles Sanderson was involved.
“It’s an investigative lead that we’re following, but we can’t say definitively at this point,” Blackmore said.
The suspect had a ‘long’ criminal history and was released by the parole board
Myles Sanderson was described as around 6ft 1in tall and weighing around 240lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. Police released an updated photo of him on Tuesday.
Blackmore previously said Sanderson had warrants for his arrest before the stabbings.
“Myles’ case goes back a number of years and includes both property and personal crimes,” Blackmore said, without giving details of the alleged crimes.
“His actions have shown that he is violent and so we continue to urge people to remain vigilant,” Blackmore added.
Sanderson was granted statutory release by the Parole Board of Canada, pursuant to a decision issued on February 1, 2022.
According to the board, statutory release is a presumptive release provided by law that allows an offender to serve part of their sentence in the community under direct supervision. According to Canadian law, the Correctional Service of Canada must release most offenders under supervision after having served two-thirds of their sentence, if they have not already been granted parole, with the exception of those serving a life sentence.
The board said in the decision that it did not believe Sanderson would pose a risk to the public if released. The decision noted his long criminal history and that he had been assessed by a psychologist for “moderate risk of violence”.
“Your criminal history is of great concern, including the use of violence and weapons related to your index offences, and your history of domestic violence that has victimized family, including your children, and non-families,” says the ruling judge.
In a statement, the parole board said it “extends its thoughts to the victims, their families and all those affected as a result of these senseless and horrific acts of violence.”
Citing the Privacy Act, the board said it could not discuss the details of an offender’s case.
CNN’s Paula Newton, Tina Burnside, Chuck Johnston, Michelle Watson and Cara Lynn Clarkson contributed to this report.
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