SASKATCHEWAN, Canada, Sept. 5, 2022 (UPI) — Authorities in Western Canada were hunting for two suspects Sunday night after 10 people were killed and at least 15 others were wounded in a stabbing spree that authorities said may be the largest mass killing in Saskatchewan’s history.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified the suspects as 31-year-old Damien Sanderson and 30-year-old Myles Sanderson. The pair had last been seen at about noon driving a black Nissan Rogue SUV in the Saskatchewan capital of Regina.
Assistant Commission Rhonda Blackmore of the Saskatchewan RCMP described the suspects during a press conference Sunday as “armed and dangerous” while calling on the public to come forward if they have information about their whereabouts.
Regina Chief of Police Evan Bray said authorities were working on information that indicates the suspects were still in Regina and have deployed a lot of resources to the city to aid the hunt.
“We have no information to believe differently so we are operating as if they are in the city,” he said.
However, police said they were unsure if they were still driving the Nissan and of the direction of their travel.
Blackmore said the are “dedicating a maximum number of resources” to bring the two men into custody.
“Let me be clear: We are still looking for the suspects,” she said. “We are asking residents across Saskatchewan and our neighboring provinces to be vigilant. At this stage in our investigation, we believe that some of the victims had been targeted by the suspect and others had been attacked randomly.”
Saskatchewan RCMP said they were first notified of a stabbing in James Smith Cree Nation, an indigenous community located about 36 miles east of Prince Albert, at 5:40 a.m. Sunday, which was followed by multiple calls reporting multiple stabbings throughout the community.
Authorities in Manitoba and Alberta, provinces that border Saskatchewan to the east and west, respectively, have also been notified to be on the lookout for the two men.
Over the next several hours, RCMP issued five alerts concerning the suspects and updates to their investigation.
The province of Saskatchewan also issued an Emergency Public Alert warning residents in Regina to “take precautions and consider sheltering in place.”
Blackmore told reporters 10 people were killed in the stabbing spree and 15 others were injured across 13 crimes scenes in James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon.
The weapon used was under investigation as well as a possible motive, she said.
Asked if it was the largest mass killing in the province’s history, Blackmore said if it’s not the largest, it certainly is the largest they’ve seen in years.
“But it could very well be the most significant,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “shocked and devastated” by the attacks and said Canadians were in mourning.
“The government of Canada has been in direct communication with the James Smith Cree Nation community leadership and we are ready to assist in any way we can,” he said in a statement. “Those responsible for today’s abhorrent attacks must be fully brought to justice.”
The James Smith Cree Nation has also declared a state of emergency until Sept. 30.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also issued a statement of condolence on behalf of the provincial government and its residents.
“There are no words to adequately describe the pain and loss caused by this senseless violence,” he said. “All of Saskatchewan grieves with the victims and their families.”