Canadian police Monday charged two suspects who are still at large with five counts of first-degree murder following a stabbing spree in the province of Saskatchewan.
The violence has left 10 people dead and 18 injured after two men ran amok on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve and a nearby town.
Damien Sanderson, 31, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and Myles Sanderson, 30, with three counts of first-degree murder. They also face charges of attempted murder and break-and-enter and more charges are expected to be laid, police said, Monday.
Meanwhile, a dangerous-persons alert has been enacted in Saskatchewan and the neighboring provinces of Manitoba and Alberta as the two suspects have so far eluded police. The stabbings took place in 13 different locations and happened Sunday.
“To the people of Saskatchewan and beyond, please be assured that we are using every human, investigational and technological resource we have available to locate and arrest the persons responsible for this tragedy and to ensure your safety,” said Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Police have confirmed that Myles Sanderson was serving a five-year prison sentence for assault, robbery, uttering threats and mischief. He made parole and then disappeared and police have been searching for him since May.
Police said they believe the pair selected certain victims but provided no further details, including no motive.
“At this stage in our investigation, we believe some victims have been targeted by the suspect and others have been attacked randomly,” Blackmore said during a Sunday news conference.
Hundreds of police are hunting for the pair, and police services from Alberta have joined in the manhunt.
While police provided no motive for the murder spree, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Chief Bobby Cameron said at a Sunday press conference that “this is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities”.
The Canadian Red Cross said in an email Monday that it is dispatching staff to “provide comfort and support to family members and the community”.
There are almost 2,000 Indigenous residents on the James Smith reserve.
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