The last suspect in stabbing attacks that killed 10 people in and around a Canadian indigenous reserve has died after being arrested by police Wednesday following a three-day manhunt, authorities said. One official said he died of self-inflicted injuries.

Miles Sanderson, 32, was caught on a highway near Rostern, Saskatchewan, when officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle driven by a man armed with a knife, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Officers forced Sanderson’s vehicle off the road into a ditch, Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, Saskatchewan RCMP commander, said at a news conference. According to her, he was detained, and a knife was found in the car.

She said Sanderson received medical attention after his arrest. She said he was given CPR before the ambulance arrived. She said paramedics took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Then all the life-saving measures we are capable of were taken,” she said.

Blackmore did not release details about the cause of death. “I can’t talk about the specific manner of death,” she said.

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

Video and photos from the scene show a white SUV pulled off the side of the road with police cars. The SUV’s airbags deployed. Some photos and videos taken from a distance showed Sanderson being searched.

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

Blackmore said with both men dead, it will be difficult for authorities to figure out what started the rampage.

“Now that Miles is dead, we may never understand that motivation,” she said.

But she began her remarks at a news conference by stressing that people in Saskatchewan can rest easier.

“Our province breathed a sigh of relief tonight,” Blackmore said.

She later added: “I hope this brings them closure. I hope they can rest easy knowing that Miles Sanderson is no longer a threat to them.”

Some of the victims’ families arrived at the scene Wednesday, including Brian Burns, whose wife and son were killed.

“Now we can start the treatment. Healing begins today, now,” he said.

The stabbings have raised questions about why Miles Sanderson – an ex-prisoner with 59 convictions and a long history of shocking violence – was on the streets in the first place.

He was released by the parole board in February while serving more than four years on charges that included assault and robbery. But the police had been looking for him since May, apparently for violating the terms of his release, although the details were not clear.

His long and somber rap also revealed that seven years ago he attacked and stabbed one of the weekend’s slaying victims, according to court records.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said there will be an investigation into the parole board’s assessment of Sanderson.

“I want to know the reasons behind the decision” to release him, Mendicina said. “I’m very disturbed by what happened here. The community has been left reeling.”

The investigation did not name the motive for the bloodshed.

The Saskatchewan Coroner’s Office 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, Wesley Patterson, 78.

Authorities have not said how the victims may be related.

Marc Arcand said his half-sister, Bonnie, and her son, Gregory, were killed.

“Her son was already dead. My sister came out and tried to help her son and she was stabbed twice and she died next to him,” he said. “Right outside her home, she was killed in a senseless act. She was protecting her son. She was protecting three little boys. That’s why she’s a hero.”

Arcand rushed to the reserve in the morning to fight. Afterward, he said, “I woke up in the middle of the night to nothing but screaming and yelling. I will never forget what I saw that day.”

As for what caused the violence, Arcand said, “We’re all looking for the same answers. We don’t know what happened. We may never know. That’s the hardest thing about it.”

Court documents say Sanderson attacked his relatives Earl Burns and Joyce Burns in 2015, stabbing Earl Burns multiple times and injuring Joyce Burns. He later pleaded guilty to assault and endangering the life of Earl Burns.

According to court records, many of Sanderson’s crimes were committed while intoxicated. He once told parole officers that substance use had driven him crazy. Records showed he repeatedly violated court orders that prohibited him from drinking and using drugs.

Many Indigenous communities in Canada are affected by drug and alcohol addiction.

“The drug and alcohol problem on these reserves is out of control,” said Ivor Wayne Burns, whose sister was killed in the weekend attacks. “We have dead people, and we previously asked to do something.”

Court records show that Miles Sanderson’s childhood was marked by abuse, neglect and substance abuse. Sanderson, who is indigenous and grew up on a Cree reserve with a population of 1,900, started drinking and smoking marijuana around age 12, followed shortly by cocaine.

In 2017, he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home, punched a hole in the bathroom door while his two children were hiding in the bathtub and threw a cement block at a car parked outside, according to parole documents.

A few days later, he got into a fight at the store, threatening to kill an employee and burn down his parents’ house, documents state.

In November of that year, he threatened an accomplice to rob a fast-food restaurant, hitting him in the head with a gun. He then stood guard during the detention.

In 2018, while drinking, he stabbed two men with a fork and beat them unconscious.

When he was released in February, the parole board imposed conditions on his contact with his partner and children and said he must not have relations with women without written permission from his parole officer.

In releasing Sanderson on “statutory release”, parole authorities said: “In the opinion of the Board, you will not present an undue danger to the community.”

Canadian law provides for the legal release of prisoners after they have served two-thirds of their sentences. But the parole board can impose conditions on that freedom, and inmates who violate them — as Sanderson has done more than once — can be sent back to prison.

Sharna Sugarman, who set up a GoFundMe for the victims, questioned the parole board for his release and questioned why Sanderson is still free so many months after being declared “unlawfully at large.”

“It’s just outrageous to me,” said Sugarman, a counselor who counted one of the stabbing victims as a client. “If they claim to have looked for him, then you haven’t looked that hard.”


Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City contributed to this report.

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