Saskatchewan RCMP are set to provide an update Thursday in Melfort on the timeline of the mass stabbings on James Smith Cree Nation and in the Village of Weldon.

With this update on the horizon MBC Radio News is taking a look back on what has been made public so far when it comes to how the events of the Labour Day weekend in 2022 unfolded along with the days that followed.

RCMP issue alert

Early in the morning on September 4 many people in Saskatchewan first became aware of the unfolding situation at James Smith Cree Nation when a province wide alert went out over the SaskAlert app. Police said they made the decision to put out the alert after getting reports about multiple people being stabbed at James Smith. On Twitter STARS Air Ambulance said two of their helicopters had been dispatched to the First Nation.

Police release information on suspects

Around an hour after issuing the province wide alert, RCMP released information about the suspects in the mass stabbings. Police said they were looking for Damien and Myles Sanderson. Damien Sanderson was described as being 5’7” and 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. While Myles Sanderson was described as being 6’1” and 200 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Not long after putting out the names and descriptions of the two suspects police said the pair may have been driving a black Nissan Rogue SUV with the license plate 119 MPI. People at James Smith and in the surrounding area were advised to shelter in place and to be careful about letting people into their homes.

State of Emergency declared

Later in the evening it was announced that Chief and Council of James Smith Cree Nation had unanimously voted to declare a local state of emergency. The First Nation said the declaration was in response to multiple murders and assaults of members in the community. The First Nation also announced that two emergency operations centres had been set up to provide health support to members.

Search for suspects

The search for the suspects led to police in Alberta and Manitoba being put on high alert. A report came in that the suspects’ vehicle had been seen in Regina. Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray told media they were conducting themselves as if the suspects were in the city and asked anyone with information to come forward.

On September 5 at Saskatchewan RCMP headquarter in Regina, Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore briefed the public on the ongoing search for the suspects. During this media conference she announced that Damien Sanderson’s body had been found.

“His body was located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined. We can confirm he has visible injuries. These injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this point,” she said.

A month later RCMP said their investigation showed that it was Myles, not Damien who was responsible for the killings. With the death of Damien, the total number of people killed on James Smith and in the Village of Weldon rose to 11.

On September 6 the RCMP put out an alert for people in the Melfort area. The alert was put out after reports came in that Myles Sanderson had been seen on James Smith Cree Nation. Eventually after an extensive search by police it was determined that Myles was not in the community.

Suspect apprehend

On September 7 RCMP got a report that Myles Sanderson was standing outside a home in Wakaw brandishing a knife. He then broke in to a white Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck and stole it. Later that afternoon police saw him traveling towards Rosthern and began to pursue him. Police eventually forced the truck off the road on Highway 11 and took Sanderson into custody.

At a media conference at Saskatchewan RCMP headquarters in Regina Assistant Commissioner Blackmore provided the public with the details of the capture of the suspect. Blackmore also announced that not long after being taken into custody Sanderson went in to what police called medical distress and passed away as a result. The Assistant Commissioner said the death of the suspect could lead to a number of questions about the violence going unanswered.

“Now that Myles is deceased, we may never have an understanding of that motivation. His motivation may at this time and forever only be known to Myles,” explained Blackmore.

Suspect vehicle found

On September 9 the RCMP put out a video on social providing an update on the investigation. Assistant Commissioner Blackmore announced they had found the black Nissan Rogue SUV east of Crystal Springs. The Assistant Commissioner said the vehicle had been hidden.

“The vehicle had been driven off the gravel road behind trees and was not visible from the main road,” she said.

(Top Photo: A candle light vigil in support of James Smith Cree Nation and the Village of Weldon held in Prince Albert in front of City Hall after the arrest of Myles Sanderson. Photo by Michael Joel-Hansen.)