RCMP have determined Damien Sanderson was killed by his brother Myles Sanderson bringing the total number of people killed to 11 in a stabbing rampage that also injured 18 others in the James Smith Cree First Nation and Weldon, Sask. in Sept.,
By Lynda Powless
Saskatchewan RCMP have confirmed Myles Sanderson was the sole killer of 11 people, including his brother Damien Sanderson, and injury of 18 others in a stabbing spree at the James Smith Cree First Nation Sept., 4 2022.
In a press conference Thursday Oct., 6, 2022 Saskatchewan RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said it would be pure speculation to say RCMP should have been able to change the outcome of the mass killings.
She said the brothers had been selling drugs in the community but could not detail what kind of drugs were being sold.
RCMP said the events began Sept., 3 shortly after 4 .am. when an anonymous caller said Damien Sanderson had stolen a vehicle in the community.
RCMP responded at 4:15 a.m., confirmed there was a warrant for Damien Sanderson outstanding from a previous assault and had a 2014 photo of him.
RCMP patrolled the community and said they contacted the caller who would not provide any further details or information about the stolen vehicles.
She said the officers made extensive calls to try to locate Damien Sanderson before calling the anonymous caller again who said they should search the North Road in the community. RCMP found the vehicle there, the windows down, but the keys were missing. The vehicle belonged to the anonymous caller.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said the RCMP completed 250 interviews, over 670 exhibits and reviewed over 900- 911 calls for service before RCMP determined Damien Sanderson himself was a victim of homicide by his brother Myles Sanderson.
She said Myles Sanderson committed all of the homicides alone bringing the total number of homicides to 11.
She said the officers have been “working tirelessly to investigate all aspects of the events.”
She said there were over 4,600 calls received by the RCMP between Sept., 3 and 8, 2022. She said an investigation and review of all calls is ongoing.
“It is likely that information has already, or is yet to be collected that may alter the sequences of these events. This is based on what we currently know.”
She said RCMP have learned they had actually come into contact with Damien Sanderson after he stole a vehicle on Sept., Sept 3rd at 4 a.m.
She said RCMP went into the residence on North Road where the stolen vehicle was found and asked three men inside the house to identify themselves and later learned one of the three men was actually Damien Sanderson, who had provided a false name.
RCMP said he provided instead the name of another person who lives in the community. RCMP said they could not demand photo ID from the three men at the time. The keys to the stolen vehicle were found inside the residence but officers were unable to obtain information from the residents on how they got there.
The anonymous caller picked his vehicle up about 6 a.m. while RCMP continued their investigation patrolling the community for over three hours from the time of the initial report.
Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said “at no time during the first 911 call to police and following calls on the morning of Sept., 3 was Myles Sanderson’s name reported to police, or any violence.”
She said “the events that would unfold the next day were unknown to police at that time.”
She said as a result of the investigation into the mass casualties, investigators have determined Myles and Damien Sanderson were actively selling drugs on Sept., 3rd, and had been involved in three violent altercations. It was not known if any weapons were involved and none of the violent altercations were reported to police prior to the casualties on Sept., 4th, 2022.
She said they have also determined that Damien Sanderson was involved in the initial planning of the attacks on Sept 4th. “We are still investigating the length of his involvement, ” she said.
She said Damien Sanderson had been charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder and a break-in. However, she said after the 250 interviews, 630 exhibits and over 900- 911 calls police determined that Damien Sanderson was another victim and Myles Sanderson committed all of the homicides alone.
She said all charges have now been withdrawn by the Crown following the deaths of the two brothers.
She said they continue to investigate. She said to find the motive behind the crimes and why some victims were targeted, “the reality is we may never really know exactly why.”
She said it will take months to provide a full time line of the events Sept 3-4.
Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said RCMP ‘s Major Crime Unit is still investigating and more information will be released during the coroner’s inquest in 2023. She said witness statements, DNA analysis and more will all be available then.