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Victims of deadly stabbing spree in Canada identified

As police continued to search for the suspect wanted in connection with a deadly series of stabbings in Saskatchewan over the weekend, officials in the Canadian province on Wednesday released the names of the 10 people killed during the attack. 

Nine of the 10 victims belonged to James Smith Cree Nation, the indigenous reserve that declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of Sunday's attack, according to an announcement shared by the Saskatchewan Coroner's Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The tenth person was a resident of Weldon, a nearby town in Saskatchewan. 

Those killed have been identified as Thomas Burns, 23, Carol Burns, 46, Gregory Burns, 28, Lydia Gloria Burns, 61, Bonnie Burns, 48, Earl Burns, 66, Lana Head, 49, Cristian Head, 54, Robert Sanderson, 49, and Wesley Petterson, 78. All except Petterson were residents of James Smith Cree Nation. 

Victims' identities were confirmed with help from their loved ones, authorities said Wednesday. Neither the coroner's service nor royal police confirmed any relationships between the victims. Authorities said they will not release the names of the 18 people who were injured in the stabbings, although Wednesday's announcement confirmed that the toll includes one young teenager and 17 wounded adults. It noted that people of all genders were targeted.

Canada Stabbings
Investigators examine the crime scene near a memorial of flowers outside the home of Wes Petterson in Weldon, Saskatchewan, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. Robert Bumsted / AP

The attack that shook James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon on Sunday, Sept. 4, is one of the deadliest mass killings in Canada's history. Stabbings took place in more than a dozen locations across the reserve and adjacent town, RCMP said this week, as authorities named brothers 31-year-old Damien Sanderson and 30-year-old Myles Sanderson as suspects alleged to have carried out the string of violent crimes. Police issued arrest warrants for murder and attempted murder for both brothers.

Rhonda Blackmore, assistant commissioner of the RCMP Saskatchewan, said earlier this week that some of the victims appeared to have been targeted by suspects during the attack while others seemed to have been stabbed at random. Police have not provided a motive as a manhunt across Canada's expansive western province moves into its fourth day.

Damien Sanderson was found dead near the site of the stabbing attacks on Monday. Blackmore said he was discovered with "visible injuries" that did not appear self-inflicted, although his cause of death has not yet been determined by the coroner. 

Myles Sanderson remained at large on Wednesday. Police warned residents of James Smith Cree Nation one day earlier that the suspect had been spotted in the area, prompting authorities to shut down local roadways and surveil the reserve, but later said the sighting was a false alarm.

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