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The suspect being sought following a stabbing spree that left 10 dead in an Indigenous community and nearby town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has an extensive criminal background with 59 past convictions, it has emerged.
Myles Sanderson, who remains on the run Wednesday, was serving a sentence of four years and four months on charges that included assault with a weapon, assault on a peace officer and robbery when he was last released from custody, according to the Associated Press.
“I want the know the reasons behind the decision” to release him, Canada Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told the news agency, adding that he has been informed by a parole board there will be an investigation into its assessment of Sanderson. “I’m extremely concerned with what occurred here.”
Many of Sanderson’s past crimes happened when he was intoxicated, and he told parole officials substance use made him out of his mind. He had been sought for a parole violation since May.
“The drug problem and the alcohol problem on these reserves is way out of hand,” said Ivor Wayne Burns, whose sister was killed in the weekend attacks. “We have dead people, and we asked before for something to be done.”
Sanderson, 32, and his brother Damien, are accused of killing 10 people and wounding 18 others in the attacks that spread across the James Smith Cree Nation and into the nearby town of Weldon. Damien’s body was found Monday near the attacks, and police were investigating whether his brother killed him.
Myles Sanderson’s childhood was marked by violence, neglect and substance abuse and led to a “cycle of substance abuse, seeking out negative peers and violent behavior,” parole documents viewed by the Associated Press said. He lived between his father’s home in a city and grandparents’ house on a reserve. There was violence and abuse in both households, it said.
Sanderson started drinking and smoking marijuana at around age 12 to cope with problems, the document said. Cocaine followed soon after.
Parole documents said he barged into his ex-girlfriend’s home in July 2017 while she was with friends, punched a hole in the door of a bathroom while his two children were hiding in a bathtub and threw a cement block at a vehicle parked outside.
He got into a fight a few days later at a store, threatening to kill an employee and burn down his parent’s home, documents said.
That November, he threatened an accomplice into robbing a fast-food restaurant by hitting him in the head with a firearm and stomping on his head. He then stood watch during the robbery.
In April 2018, he stabbed two men with a fork while drinking and beat someone unconscious.
Sanderson received statutory release from prison in the summer of last year. It was revoked after he failed to communicate with his parole supervisor, but the board decided only to reprimand him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.