Manhunt after 10 die in Canada stabbings

·2-min read

Canadian police are hunting two suspects in a stabbing spree that started in an indigenous community and left 10 people dead and 15 wounded across the central province of Saskatchewan.

The stabbings across 13 crime scenes in Saskatchewan on Sunday were among the deadliest mass killings in modern Canadian history and certain to reverberate throughout the country, which is unaccustomed to bouts of mass violence more commonly seen in the United States.

"I am shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks today," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

"As Canadians, we mourn with everyone affected by this tragic violence, and with the people of Saskatchewan."

Police named the two suspects as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30, providing photos and descriptions but no further details about their motive or the victims.

In May, Myles Sanderson was listed as "unlawfully at large" by Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers, a program that encourages the public to cooperate with police. There were no further details about why he was wanted.

"It appears that some of the victims may have been targeted, and some may be random. So to speak to a motive would be extremely difficult at this point in time," Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told a news conference.

There may be additional injured victims who transported themselves to various hospitals, police said.

James Smith Cree Nation is an indigenous community with a population of about 3400 people largely engaged in farming, hunting and fishing. Weldon is a village of some 200 people.

The nation's elected elders declared a state of emergency "in response to the numerous murders and assaults on members of the James Smith Cree Nation," and established two emergency operations centres, the nation said in a statement.

The first stabbings were reported at 5.40am and within three hours police issued a province-wide dangerous persons alert. By the afternoon, similar alerts were also issued in Saskatchewan's neighbouring provinces Alberta and Manitoba.

Police bulletins urged people to report any suspicious people and to take precautions including sheltering in place, while warning against picking up hitchhikers or approaching suspicious people.