risk to society | 

Suspect in Canadian mass-stabbing had history of violent behaviour

He remains the subject of a massive manhunt and is believed to be injured

Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore speaks during a press conference in Regina on Sunday. Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson were wanted in connection with the stabbing deaths of 10 people on Sunday morning.

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

One of two men wanted for the horrific stabbing deaths of 10 people in Canada had a long history of violent behaviour that led to a lifetime prohibited weapons ban, it has emerged.

Myles Sanderson, the younger brother of Damien Sanderson (31) who was found dead on Monday after Sunday’s rampage, had also been ordered to stay away from alcohol and drugs by authorities.

He remains the subject of a massive manhunt and is believed to be injured, alongside the 18 others he and his brother Damien attacked in a vicious series of attacks spanning 13 identified crime scenes.

Many of those killed and attacked were from the indigenous community of the town of James Smith Cree Nation.

Damien Sanderson’s body was found “outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined,” Assistant Commissioner Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said.

He had visible injuries that are not believed to have been self-inflicted, Blackmore said. A cause of death will be determined later, she added.

Asked at Monday's news conference whether Myles Sanderson is suspected in his brother's death, she said investigators could not say.

"We haven’t confirmed that. We can’t say one way or the other if Myles was involved in the death of Damien," Blackmore said. "It is an investigative avenue that we are following up on, but we can't say that definitively at this point."

According to Parole Board of Canada documents from February of this year, Sanderson (30) had racked up 59 convictions for assault, assault with a weapon, uttering threats, assaulting a police officer and robbery over two decades.

Roughly half of the offences were for breaches or failure to comply with pre-existing orders. Because of his violent behaviour, he had a lifetime prohibited weapons ban.

"Your regular use of cocaine, marijuana, and hard alcohol would make you 'lose your mind' and that you can be easily angered when drunk, but are a different person when sober," the parole documents state.

Within the documents there are numerous specific moments of rage, including a 2017 incident in which he forced his way into an ex-girlfriend's home, and punched a hole in the bathroom door where children were hiding in a bathtub for protection.

He threw a cement block at a woman's car windshield outside the home and a few days later, Sanderson threatened to murder a band store employee and then burn down his parents' home.

The following year, Sanderson stabbed two men with a fork and beat another man until he lost consciousness.

In June of that year, he repeatedly kicked a police officer in the face while being taken into custody.

The documents refer to Sanderson's childhood and the fact his parents separated when he was nine and he grew up in an environment "involving physical abuse, domestic violence and instability”.

Even while he was in prison, Sanderson got in trouble twice for possessing contraband.

However, in February of 2021 his security classification was reduced and he was transferred to a healing lodge after risk assessment found Sanderson to be in medium-to-high and high risk categories to reoffend.

Sanderson was released from minimum security on statutory release in August of 2021, according to the documents.

His release was suspended in November of that year when his ex-spouse reported that they had been living together in contravention of the conditions.

The statutory release came with six conditions that prohibited Sanderson from consuming alcohol and drugs, required him to follow a treatment plan for substance abuse and domestic violence.

He was also told to refrain from intimate relationships with women without written permission from his parole officer and ordered to avoid people involved in criminal activity and drugs and was barred from contact with four people, identified only by their initials.

Sanderson stayed sober on release, the documents reveal, while he also got a job and was seeing a therapist and was engaged in cultural ceremonies.

While the documents note he was working on managing his emotions and felt that his risk factors were manageable in the community, there were also long-standing concerns about his behaviour.

The February parole documents reveal the board ultimately decided to cancel the November suspension of the release but left a reprimand in his file.

"It is the Board's opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released on statutory release and that your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration to society as a law-abiding citizen," the documents state.

By May, Crime Stoppers had issued an alert for Sanderson, who it described as being at large.

Saskatoon police earlier confirmed they've been searching for Myles Sanderson when he stopped meeting with his assigned caseworker and was classified as "unlawfully at large."

Damien Sanderson's body was found on the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan at 11.30am, Assistant Commissioner Blackmore revealed.

Myles Sanderson may be injured, but that has not been confirmed, Blackmore said at a news conference.

"We do want the public to know this as there is a possibility he may seek medical attention," she said. "It does not mean he is not still dangerous."

Including Myles Sanderson, 19 people have been injured in the attacks, which spanned 13 identified crime scenes, officials said. Their medical conditions were not released. With the discovery of Damien Sanderson's body, she said, the number of deaths was 11.

The identities of the dead were not released by police Monday, but Blackmore said that none of them were infants or children.

The youngest known victim who died was born in 1999, she said, and both men and women were killed.

James Smith Cree Nation resident Darryl Burns and his brother, Ivor Wayne Burns, said their sister, Gloria Lydia Burns, was a first responder who was killed while trying to respond to a call. Burns said his 62-year-old sister was on a crisis response team.

“She went on a call to a house and she got caught up in the violence,” he said. “She was there to help. She was a hero.”

Investigators believe some victims may have been targeted and others may have been attacked at random, Blackmore said, but an investigation is ongoing.

Myles Sanderson may have been spotted in the Saskatchewan city of Regina, after a vehicle that was being sought was seen in the city, officials have said.

“This is the most recent credible information we have, but it’s also quite stale,” Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray said. “And so we can’t say for certain that he is in the community, but we’re operating as if he is.”

Police said that the manhunt and the investigation into the killings are the highest priority.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the attacks shocking and heartbreaking, and said Monday that his thoughts and the thoughts of all Canadians are with the victims and their loved ones.

“This kind of violence, or any kind of violence, has no place in our country,


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