One of the two men suspected of fatally stabbing 10 people and injuring at least 19 others in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has been found dead of injuries that were not self-inflicted, police said Monday. While authorities have not offered a possible motive in the slayings, a senior Indigenous leader said the Sunday massacre—one of the deadliest attacks in Canada's history, and the deadliest ever in Saskatchewan, per the National Post—may have had something to do with drugs. The killings took place at 13 different locations on the James Smith Cree Nation, an Indigenous community, and in the town of Weldon about 20 miles away, the AP reports. Suspect Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead and police believe his brother Myles Sanderson, 30, who is still on the run, is injured and likely in the capital city of Regina, 210 miles away.
"I lost a lot of family yesterday, bodies every where on rez, some deceased and many others with severe knife wounds and bleeding," reads a Facebook post from a community member who later told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, "It’s sick how jail time, drugs and alcohol can destroy many lives." Another community member echoed those sentiments in her own Facebook post, as did the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous in his statement: "This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities, and we demand all authorities to take direction from the chiefs and councils and their membership to create safer and healthier communities for our people," said Chief Bobby Cameron. Myles Sanderson was already a fugitive at the time of the stabbings, having a string of violent convictions in his past.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward, and it was a credible tip that led them to believe Myles Sanderson is in Regina, but Damien Sanderson's body was found near the stabbing sites. "His body was located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined," a press release says. The Post reported that the relationship between the two men was not clear and that "many members of the James Smith Cree Nation" share the surname Sanderson, but police later confirmed they are brothers, the CBC reports. Meanwhile, another provincewide emergency alert was issued Monday after a shooting on the Witchekan Lake First Nation, about 124 miles away, but police do not believe the two incidents are connected. Even so, the AP says it's "notable" for two such "unusual" alerts to be issued so close together. (Read more Saskatchewan stories.)