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Canada stabbings: police say suspects remain at large after overnight search


‘Relentless’ hunt fails to track down two men believed to have attacked residents of Indigenous community in Saskatchewan.

Police in western Canada have said the two men believed to have killed 10 in a stabbing rampage have evaded search teams and remain at large despite a “relentless” overnight search.

The country is still reeling from one of the deadliest attacks in its history as the police forces from multiple provinces ramp up their search.

On Sunday morning, two men attacked people in an Indigenous community in Saskatchewan, and a neighbouring village. At least 18 people were also injured before the suspects fled in a stolen vehicle.

Regina police service chief, Evan Bray, said in a video posted on Twitter:“We will not stop this investigation until we have those two safely in custody.”

The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, described the attacks as “horrific and heartbreaking”.

“This kind of violence, or any kind of violence, has no place in our country,” he told reporters Monday afternoon, pledging his government’s support in both the hunt for the men, as well as for the victims of the mass killing.”

Rhonda Blackmore, the assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted police (RCMP) in Saskatchewan, said on Monday “every human, investigational and technological resource we have available” was being used to locate and arrest the perpetrators. Officers from neighbouring Alberta and Manitoba have been dispatched to assist in the search, and multiple municipal police forces are also aiding in the manhunt.

The bulk of the attacks happened in James Smith Cree Nation, an Indigenous community of 3,400, and the village of Weldon. Police said they were investigating 13 separate locations as crime scenes.

The RCMP have identified Damien and Myles Sanderson as the two suspects in the killings.

The RCMP said the men had been formally charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and breaking and entering.

Blackmore said the relationship between the suspects was unclear. She said there was no motive yet but the men were presumed to be armed and dangerous. Myles Sanderson has been wanted since May for breaching his parole conditions.

Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents First Nations groups in Saskatchewan, suggested the attacks may have been drug-related, saying: “Our hearts break for all those impacted. This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities.”

Residents identified one of the victims in the attacks as Wes Petterson. One local, Ruby Works, said the 77-year-old widower was like an uncle to her. Speaking to the Associated Press, she said: “He didn’t deserve this. He was a good, kind-hearted man.”

She said the event had shaken a community where the sounds of sirens are rarely heard. “No one in this town is ever going to sleep again. They’re going to be terrified to open their door.”

Two more victims have been identified as mother-of-two Lana Head and her partner. Head’s former partner, Michael Brett Burns, told local media APTN News that the couple died of their wounds.

Calvin Sanderson, one of the elected leaders of the three communities that make up the James Smith Cree Nation, told Associated Press: “Everyone’s been affected … They were our relatives, friends. Mostly we’re all related here, so it’s pretty hard … It’s pretty horrific.”

On social media, the people of James Smith Cree Nation chronicled the terror that gripped the community. One posted an image of a broken door handle, adding that she was glad her younger sister wasn’t home when it was broken into.

“This is forever gonna traumatize me,” she wrote.

Others posted tributes to family members killed in the attack, including a young woman who had seen her grandfather the night before, only to learn he was a victim in the attacks.

Doreen Lees, an 89-year-old grandmother from Weldon, told the Associated Press she and her daughter spotted one of the suspects when a car came speeding down her street early in the morning, as her daughter was having coffee on her deck. A man approached them and said he was hurt and needed help, said Lees.

But the man ran when her daughter said she would call for help.

“He wouldn’t show his face. He had a big jacket over his face. We asked his name and he kind of mumbled his name twice and we still couldn’t get it,” she said. “He said his face was injured so bad he couldn’t show it.”

She said the man was by himself and “kind of a little wobbly”.

“I followed him a little ways to see if he was going to be OK. My daughter said ‘Don’t follow him, get back here’.”

Saskatchewan’s premier, Scott Moe, called the attacks “horrific” and said he offered his government’s support to all those affected. “There are no words to adequately describe the pain and loss caused by this senseless violence. All of Saskatchewan grieves with the victims and their families.”

Throughout the day, the scope of the search expanded more than 300km (186 miles) south, towards Regina, the provincial capital, where thousands of fans were gathered for a sold-out Canadian Football League game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The men had initially been spotted driving a stolen black Nissan Rogue but police warned they did not know if the pair had changed their vehicle.

crowdfunding page was set up on Monday to help defray the costs of funerals and to provide financial support for the affected families, but by midday had only raised a fraction of its C$100,000 (£66,000) goal.

Source :The Guardian