Inquests to be held into Canada stabbings and custody death

TORONTO — Saskatchewan’s chief coroner said Wednesday an inquest will determine the cause of death of the suspect who died in police custody after a stabbing rampage in the Canadian province — but said it wasn’t due to blunt-force trauma after being arrested.

Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said two public inquests will be held. One will focus on 11 deaths on the the Indigenous reserve of James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon. The other is to focus on the death of suspect Myles Sanderson, who was captured by police days later after they ran his car off the road.

Weighill said no information about how Sanderson died will be released before that inquest, which could happen in the spring or summer of next year. He said jury members in the inquest will determine the cause of death.

But Weighill later said at the press conference that the preliminary result of the autopsy found no blunt force trauma caused his death. “We still need the toxicology report,” he said.

Authorities have not said how suspect Myles Sanderson died. Police previously said Sanderson went into medical distress after he was arrested. Police have said CPR was attempted on him before an ambulance arrived. Emergency medical personnel then took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead..

But an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Sanderson died of self-inflicted injuries, without giving any further details.

Officers forced Sanderson’s vehicle off a road and into a ditch. He was detained and a knife was found inside the stolen vehicle, police said.

Video and photos from the scene showed a white SUV off to the side of the road with police cars all around. Air bags had deployed in the SUV. Some images taken from a distance appeared to show Sanderson being frisked.

His death came two days after the body of his brother, 30-year-old Damien Sanderson, was found in a field near the scene of their rampage, which also wounded 18 people. Police are investigating whether Myles Sanderson killed his brother.

The stabbing rampage raised questions of why Myles Sanderson — an ex-con with 59 convictions and a long history of shocking violence — was out on the streets in the first place.

Investigators have not given a motive for the bloodshed.

Weighill said the juries would be made of solely of Indigenous people. Only one victim was not Indigenous.

The Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service said nine of those killed were from the James Smith Cree Nation: Thomas Burns, 23; Carol Burns, 46; Gregory Burns, 28; Lydia Gloria Burns, 61; Bonnie Burns, 48; Earl Burns, 66; Lana Head, 49; Christian Head, 54; and Robert Sanderson, 49, One was from Weldon, 78-year-old Wesley Patterson.

Authorities would not say how the victims might be related.

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