At least 10 people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in stabbings in two remote Canadian communities Sunday, police said, as they launched a manhunt for two suspects.
Police responding to emergency calls found 10 dead in the James Smith Cree Nation Indigenous community and the nearby town of Weldon, Saskatchewan, Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Rhonda Blackmore, told a news conference.
“Several additional victims have been injured, 15 of which have been transported to various hospitals at this time,” she said.
Even more victims may have made their own way to hospitals, she added.
“We are actively looking for the two suspects,” she said.
They have been identified as Damien and Myles Sanderson and described as 30- and 31-year-old men, both with black hair and brown eyes.
The suspects fled in a black Nissan Rogue, Blackmore added, and several checkpoints have been set up on highways and roads across the region as “maximum” police resources were deployed for the search.
Today’s attacks in Saskatchewan are horrific and heartbreaking. I think of those who have lost a loved one and those who have been injured.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 4, 2022
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the stabbing “horrific and heartbreaking.” “The attacks in Saskatchewan are horrific and heartbreaking,” he tweeted. “I think of those who have lost a loved one and those who have been injured.”
The James Smith Cree Nation, with a population of 2,500, declared a local state of emergency, while many residents of the province of Saskatchewan were urged to take shelter on the spot.
“It’s horrific what happened in our county today,” Blackmore said.
Diane Shier, a resident of Weldon, told local media that her neighbor, a man who lived with his grandson, had been murdered. “I am very upset because I have lost a good neighbor,” she told the Canadian Press.
In Saskatchewan, a dangerous person warning was issued in the morning as police responded to “multiple stabbings (at) multiple locations” in the Indigenous community and the town of Weldon.
Blackmore said police received a call about a stabbing in the James Smith First Nation at 5:40am (11:40am GMT), quickly followed by more calls reporting further stabbings.
She said authorities believe “some victims were targeted by the suspects and others were attacked indiscriminately”.
“It would be extremely difficult to talk to a motive at this point,” she added.
After reports of sightings of the suspects in Regina, the provincial capital more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) to the south, the alert and search expanded to the neighboring provinces of Manitoba and Alberta — a vast area nearly half the size of Europe.
In Regina, Police Chief Evan Bray said authorities were on high alert with additional officers being deployed as fans descended on town for a sold-out Labor Day weekend game between the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority told AFP in a statement that it had activated emergency protocols to treat “a large number of critical patients”.
“We can confirm that multiple people are being triaged and cared for in multiple locations and that a call has been made for additional staff to respond to this situation,” it added.
Three helicopters had been dispatched from Saskatoon and Regina to remote northern communities to transport the victims of the stabbing and deliver a doctor to the scene.
Other victims were transported by ground ambulances to hospitals in nearby towns.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)