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Canadian police defend murky circumstances of stabbing rampage suspect’s death: ‘This is not a TV drama’

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Myles Sanderson, one of two suspects in a deadly stabbing rampage that left 10 people dead earlier this month in Saskatchewan, Canada, was arrested by law enforcement on Sept. 7 but later died in police custody. 

Rhonda Blackmore, commander of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan, said Thursday that police were still unsure what caused the suspect’s death and defended the approach they are taking in the investigation. 

“I have seen it written that ‘somewhere in the process, police failed to uphold’ our duty of care. This statement is extremely premature given we do not yet have information on what led to his death,” Blackmore said in a statement on Thursday, eight days after Mylse Sanderson died. 

“I ask you all to remember this is not a TV drama where we will have all of the answers by the end of the episode. Complex investigations of this nature take time and we look forward to providing further details once they have been confirmed.” 

This combination of images shows Damien Sanderson, left, and his brother Myles Sanderson, suspects in stabbings that left 10 people dead on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve. 

This combination of images shows Damien Sanderson, left, and his brother Myles Sanderson, suspects in stabbings that left 10 people dead on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve. 
(Royal Canadian Mounted Police via AP)

Myles Sanderson, 32, is accused of stabbing multiple people on the morning of Sept. 4 on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve.

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His brother, 31-year-old Damien Sanderson, who is also a suspect in the stabbings, was found dead the next day near the stabbing sites with visible injuries that police do not believe were self-inflicted. 

Two days later, police were responding to reports of a man armed with a knife driving a stolen vehicle when they located Myles on a highway. They forced his car off the road into a ditch and arrested him, but he went into medical distress and was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. 

“All life-saving measures that we are capable of were taken at that time,” Blackmore said that evening. “I can’t speak to the specific manner of death. That’s going to be part of the autopsy that will be conducted.” 

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The Saskatoon Police Service and the Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team are conducting an independent investigation into the death of Myles Sanderson, who was out on parole after being released in February while serving a four-year sentence for assault and robbery charges. 

He had a lengthy rap sheet of 59 convictions and had been wanted by police since May for violating the terms of his release. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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