Canadian authorities have extended the search to three provinces for two men accused of stabbing dozens of residents of an indigenous community in the province of Saskatchewan. At least 10 people were killed and 15 injured in the events described by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “horrifying and heartbreaking.”
The killings in the province of Saskatchewan are among the deadliest in modern Canadian history and shock the country.
Two men caused panic when on Sunday, September 4, they carried out several stabbings in 13 different places. Most of the attacks targeted residents of the James Smith Cree Nation, an indigenous community of 3,400 people, and the neighboring village of Weldon.
At least 10 people died and 15 were injured. Some of the victims may have been premeditated by the assailants, while others may have been randomly attacked, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore.
Police are frantically searching in three provinces for suspects identified as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30. Although the authorities presume that the two individuals are relatives, the relationship between them has not yet been clarified.
The officers have provided photos of the alleged perpetrators, who they say are armed and dangerous.
Initially, the men were seen in the city of Regina, about 320 km south of the area where the events occurred, and were driving a black Nissan Rogue. However, the authorities warned that it is not clear where they were going and if they changed vehicles.
Police bulletins urge people to report any suspicious person and to take precautions. “Do not leave your safe place. Be careful when allowing others to enter your residence”, indicates one of the notices.
They identify the victims: “They were our relatives, friends”
As communities remain in shock, the identities of some of the victims are emerging.
One of them is Wes Petterson, a 77-year-old widower. “He did nothing. He didn’t deserve this. He was a good man, with a good heart, ”said Ruby Works, who she assured him was like an uncle to her.
The events took place in a quiet community where the sounds of police sirens are rarely heard. “No one in this city will ever sleep again. They will be terrified to open the door,” Works added.
The deceased also include Lana Head, a mother of two children, and her husband.
“Everyone has been affected… They were our family, friends. For the most part, we are all related here, so it is quite difficult (…) It is horrible, ”said Calvin Sanderson, one of the elected leaders of the three communities that make up the James Smith Cree Nation.
On social media, residents described the terror that gripped the town. One user posted a picture of a broken door handle, adding that luckily her younger sister wasn’t home when they broke into the place. “This is going to traumatize me forever,” she added.
Doreen Lees, an 89-year-old Weldon woman, said she and her daughter caught a glimpse of one of the suspects when a car sped down their street. She said that shortly afterward an individual approached them with a bloody face and asked for help.
“He didn’t show his face. He had a jacket over his face. We asked him his name and he muttered his name twice and we still couldn’t understand (…) He said his face was so hurt that he couldn’t show it, “Narrated Lees.
They declare a state of emergency; Trudeau calls for those responsible to be brought to justice
Elected leaders of the three communities that make up the James Smith Cree Nation, including the Chakastaypasin Band and the Peter Chapman Band, declared a local state of emergency and opened two emergency operations centers “in response to numerous killings and assaults on members” of the community.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the events as “horrifying and heartbreaking … I think of those who have lost a loved one and those who were injured,” he added.
Trudeau assured that his Government has been in direct communication with the leaders of the affected towns and that his Administration is ready to help in whatever is necessary.
“Those responsible for today’s abominable attacks must be brought to justice,” said the political leader.
Meanwhile, Scott Moe – Prime Minister of Saskatchewan, the province to which the attacked towns belong – 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 mourns the victims and their families.”
The motivations of the multiple crime are still unknown. “This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities. We demand that all authorities follow the instructions of the leaders, councils and their members to create safer and healthier communities for our people”, requested Bobby Cameron, of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
The facts dismay mainly the indigenous communities, who represent less than 5% of the population of Canada – of approximately 38 million people – and are those who suffer the highest levels of poverty and unemployment, as well as a shorter life expectancy. compared to other citizens of the country.
With Reuters, AP and local media