CTV News/Police say the prime suspect in a mass stabbing incident in Saskatchewan has been taken into custody.
Myles Sanderson was located and taken into custody in Rosthern, Sask., around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to an update on a civil emergency alert that has been in effect in the province since Sunday morning.
The update, which formally cancelled the alert, said there is no longer a risk to public safety.
His arrest comes following a public warning issued Wednesday afternoon saying a person reportedly armed with a knife was reported in Wakaw, Saskatchewan. RCMP believe the sighting may be related to the fatal stabbings on James Smith Cree Nation.
The person was believed to be traveling in a stolen white 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche.
A video confirmed by CTV News that was shared on social media shortly after the arrest showed a white truck in a ditch on Highway 11, surrounded by RCMP cruisers with a helicopter flying overhead.
After arriving on scene, CTV News observed around a dozen police vehicles concentrated in the southbound lane of the highway with traffic being diverted.
Wakaw is located roughly 100 kilometres southwest of the First Nation where all but one of the stabbings occurred.
RCMP instructed anyone in the Wakaw area to immediately seek shelter or shelter in place, to use caution allowing other inside residences and to avoid approaching suspicious persons or picking up hitchhikers.
Eleven people have died and 19 have been injured as a result of the stabbing spree, according to police.
Myles Sanderson is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of break-and-enter.
Police expect to lay more charges as the investigation continues.
Sanderson is just over six feet tall and weighs 240 pounds, according to police. He may also be injured and was considered to be armed and dangerous.
During a sombre news conference, the head of one of Saskatchewan’s leading Indigenous organizations revealed he had lost two loved ones in the tragic stabbing attacks that occurred on James Smith Cree Nation.
“We’ve shed a lot of tears in the last couple of days,” Mark Arcand said while breaking up at a Saskatoon Tribal Council news conference.
“We’re hurt, we’re broken, but we’re not defeated.”
Arcand said his sister Bonnie Burns, 48, and nephew Gregory Burns, 28, were among those fatally stabbed. He said Bonnie’s two young foster children witnessed the tragedy.
“One of the young boys was hiding behind a highchair watching everything unfold,” Arcand said.
On Tuesday evening, Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray revealed that police no longer believe that Sanderson is in the city.
“We’ve received information that is leading us to believe he [Myles Sanderson] may no longer be in this community,” Bray said.
“As a result, investigations continue. And although we don’t know his whereabouts, we are still looking not only within the city of Regina but expanded into the province as well,” he said.
A sighting considered credible by police placed the black Nissan Rogue Sanderson may be driving in Regina around 11:45 a.m. on Sunday. The vehicle has a Saskatchewan licence plate — 119 MPI.
Bray’s comments came the same day as a false alarm involving a possible sighting of Sanderson on James Smith Cree Nation.
Earlier Tuesday, RCMP issued an update to its dangerous persons alert which said investigators had received reports of a possible sighting in the community.
Residents were instructed to seek shelter or shelter in place while additional Mounties descended on the community — which has already seen a heavy police presence as investigators work to process more than a dozen crime scenes.
“Normally we would probably take a little extra time to determine the reliability of that information — but based on the fact that there were multiple calls, and what we’re currently dealing with and the carnage that Myles Sanderson has already inflicted on that community, we took the action of issuing another dangerous person alert,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore told CTV News.
The intensive search for Myles Sanderson and his brother Damien began Sunday morning after reports of multiple stabbings on James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, Sask. began pouring into police.
On Monday, RCMP found Damien’s body in a grassy area on the First Nation. He appeared to have died from injuries that did not seem to be self-inflicted.
A dangerous persons alert issued Sunday morning in response to the attacks was later expanded from Saskatchewan to cover Alberta and Manitoba as well. The Alberta alert was cancelled Tuesday morning.
A news conference where some affected by the tragedy are expected to speak is planned for later Wednesday morning in Saskatoon.
On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said out of 17 individuals admitted with injuries related to the stabbing, 10 still remain in hospital.
“Two patients are in critical condition, eight are in stable condition and, since Sunday, seven individuals have been discharged.,” an SHA statement said.
Sunday morning, the SHA moved into a “code orange” process for accepting a high number of critical patients at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
A similar measure was taken in response to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018.
Source: With files from Carla Shynkaruk