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RCMP say Sask. mass killing suspect not on James Smith Cree Nation, search continues

Mass killing suspect Myles Sanderson is not hiding at James Smith Cree Nation, RCMP say.

Authorities say the location of the mass murder suspect is still unknown and are urging the public to remain cautious.

Earlier Tuesday, RCMP sent an alert telling residents of James Smith Cree Nation, about 170 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, to shelter in place after a report of a possible sighting of Sanderson, 32.

Sanderson is accused of murder along with his deceased brother, Damien Sanderson, 31, in connection with the mass stabbing that left 10 people dead and 18 injured in the area of James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon, Sask. Those tallies do not include the suspects.

Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead Monday with wounds that did not seem self-inflicted, according to RCMP.

Myles may no longer be in Regina: police chief 

Earlier in the investigation, police believed the suspect might have been in Regina.

Police had received a report Sunday that the vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving — a black Nissan Rogue with licence plate 119 MPI — had been spotted in Regina.

RCMP shared a new photo of Sanderson wearing glasses but say he might not be wearing them and that his current appearance may not exactly resemble the photo.

rcmp say sask mass killing suspect not on james smith cree nation search continues
Saskatchewan RCMP continue to search for Myles Sanderson, who is six-foot-one and 240 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. RCMP say Myles may not be wearing glasses and his current appearance may not exactly resemble this photo. (Saskatchewan RCMP)

Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, told CBC News Tuesday afternoon that the RCMP doesn’t know if he’s still in Regina, calling that information “quite stale.”

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray confirmed police received information that led them to believe Myles may no longer be in the city.

“Although we don’t know his whereabouts, we are still looking not only within the city of Regina but expanded into the province as well,” Bray said in a video posted to social media Tuesday shortly before 6 p.m. CST.

Police say they are receiving tips from throughout Saskatchewan and are following up on every piece of information. 

Kirby Constant, a James Smith member living in Prince Albert, told CBC News a community meeting was held on the reserve at 11 a.m. CST Tuesday. 

Police at the meeting rushed out shortly before the public alert notifying residents to shelter in place had been issued.

WATCH | Some victims were attacked at random: 

rcmp say sask mass killing suspect not on james smith cree nation search continues 1

Mother, veteran, first responder among victims of Sask. stabbings

11 hours ago

Duration 2:27

Stories are emerging about some of the victims of the stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan. Among those who lost their lives: a beloved mother of five, a veteran, and a community first responder who her family says was trying to help when she was killed.

Police from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba were searching for the Sandersons after the attacks sparked a dangerous persons alert Sunday morning.

Myles Sanderson is facing three counts of first-degree murder, as well as attempted murder and break and enter. Police say he may have sustained injuries, though it hasn’t been confirmed.

Before he was the subject of a multi-provincial search, Crime Stoppers had issued an alert for Myles who was considered unlawfully at large.

Parole Board of Canada documents show that over two decades he amassed 59 convictions for crimes including assault, assault with a weapon, assaulting a police officer, uttering threats and robbery.

Myles was given a lifetime prohibited weapons ban because of his violent behaviour. 

He was sentenced to four years in prison. He served two-thirds of his sentence and received a statutory release last summer, meaning he would serve the rest of his prison sentence in the community under supervision.

However, Myles was re-arrested in the fall for violating conditions and then released again in February. 

The board had ruled that it did not consider Sanderson to “present an undue risk to society” in its decision to maintain his release.

Myles was supposed to report to a case officer in the community after that release, but he went missing in May.

Speaking to reporters in Vancouver Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said he has engaged with the Parole Board and said there will be a review on its decision.

“I’m extremely concerned with what occurred,” Mendicino said.

CBC News confirmed Tuesday that Earl Burns Sr., a veteran, is among the deceased.

WATCH | Former Mountie says police must cast a wider net to find suspect: 

rcmp say sask mass killing suspect not on james smith cree nation search continues 2

Death of Damien Sanderson changes Saskatchewan police investigation, says former Mountie

22 hours ago

Duration 8:57

Police investigating murders in rural Saskatchewan must cast a wider net to find Myles Sanderson because he may be getting help, says former RCMP officer Sherry Benson-Podolchuk.

The Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association sent its condolences to the Burns family following his death.

On Monday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said the hospitals were no longer in a Code Orange, which was announced Sunday following the influx of critical patients from the stabbing rampage.

The SHA said 10 patients remain in hospital as of 1 p.m. CST Tuesday. Three people are in critical condition, seven are in stable condition and seven have been discharged since Sunday.

James Smith Cree Nation asking for donations

The James Smith Cree Nation and sister First Nation communities are asking for food and monetary donations in the wake of the mass stabbing.

In an open letter being shared on social media, the Cree Nation, alongside chiefs and council from Peter Chapman Band and Chakastaypasin Band, have asked for food, money and disposable dishware and cutlery.

rcmp say sask mass killing suspect not on james smith cree nation search continues 3
Royal Canadian Mounted Police vehicles patrol James Smith Cree Nation after a possible sighting of the remaining suspect in the stabbings that occurred on the reserve and the nearby town of Weldon, Sask. (Lars Hagberg/AFP via Getty Images)

The group of First Nation communities declared a state of emergency on noon Sunday.

Donations for the Cree Nation can be delivered to the Bernard Constant Community School gymnasium.

It asked any monetary donations to be given as gift cards, cheques or cash and that donations would be logged.

Indigenous Services Canada said it will be supporting James Smith in a variety of ways identified by the Cree Nation, including mental health counselling, funeral costs for victims and supports for people displaced by the attacks, such as accommodation, meals and other essential needs.

The Saskatoon Tribal Council says there are currently more than 50 people from James Smith being housed at three locations in the city.

“A lot of these families had to flee. They came with the clothes on their back,” said STC Chief Mark Arcand at a news conference Tuesday.

The organization is supporting them with clothing, food, mental health resources and more. 

Arcand says STC is accepting donations at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge and will triage the items as needed through its teams. People are being asked to call the lodge ahead of bringing donations. 

Community feeling a flurry of emotions

Richard Brittain, a James Smith Cree Nation community member, told CBC he’s feeling better Tuesday after a flurry of emotions over the past couple days including sadness, grief, anger and blame.

“Everybody in our community is feeling the same way as I am,” he said “The people that we have lost are all family to me in some way. A lot of the victims that are in hospital are my friends.”

Brittain said he received a message from a family member on Sunday morning, leading him to drive to the community where he found “loved ones laying lifeless in my community.”

“I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening in our community. My community is usually a safe, connected place,” he said. “To wake up and see all this horrific stuff that has happened in our community is just, it’s unbelievable.”

rcmp say sask mass killing suspect not on james smith cree nation search continues 4
Richard Brittain says he lost many loved ones during the attacks on Sunday. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

He said it’s going to take awhile for community members to forget those grim images and sleep well again.

On Tuesday afternoon, Premier Scott Moe, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and other chiefs held two moments of silence for the victims during the grand opening of a sports complex at Big River First Nation, 120 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.

“I trust that the RCMP, the relevant law authorities will catch [Myles Sanderson] sooner rather than later,” Moe told reporters. “And then we can focus on the community and focus on healing as a province.”

Universities, schools change operations

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon said in a statement Monday it would be postponing some large campus gatherings, including some Welcome Week events scheduled for Tuesday, “out of respect for these communities and for the fact that the situation remains an emergency.”

It said it would be offering support to students, staff and faculty with connections to James Smith Cree Nation as well as opening the doors to the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre as a “safe gathering place” for campus community.

The University of Regina said in an email Tuesday that it’s upped security on campus and has ensured dormitory doors are only accessible through a keyed entrance.

The two dozen schools in Saskatchewan’s Northwest School Division were on “hold and secure,” director of education Duane Haulk said in an email: “With one suspect still at large, we will be hyper vigilant in maintaining the safety of students, teachers and school staff.”

Later Tuesday, the school board ended its hold-and-secure precaution and is resuming operations as normal.

Both the Catholic and public school boards in Saskatoon are operating as usual with supports for those affected. 

The Regina Public School Board said it is taking steps to “ensure that our school safety procedures are followed,” but added Regina police don’t believe there is a reason to alter operations.

Both universities and the school boards offered their condolences and prayers in their statements and emails to those affected.

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