TORONTO — Saskatchewan’s Chief Coroner said on Wednesday an inquest would determine the cause of death of the suspect who died in police custody after a stabbing rampage in the Canadian province – but said it was not due to blunt trauma after his arrest.
Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said two public inquests will be held. One will focus on 11 deaths on the James Smith Cree Nation Indian Reserve and 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 driving his car off the road.
Weighill said no information about Sanderson’s death will be released until after that inquest, which could take place in the spring or summer of next year. He said members of the inquest jury would determine the cause of death.
But Weighill later told the press conference that preliminary autopsy results revealed no blunt force trauma had caused his death. “We still need the toxicology report,” he said.
Authorities have not said how suspect Myles Sanderson died. Police previously said Sanderson was in medical distress after his arrest. Police said CPR was attempted on him before an ambulance arrived. Emergency medical personnel then took him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
But an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Sanderson died of self-inflicted injuries, without giving further details.
Officers forced Sanderson’s vehicle off a road and into a ditch. He was arrested and a knife was found inside the stolen vehicle, police said.
Video and photos from the scene showed a white SUV on the side of the road with police cars all around. Air bags had deployed in the SUV. Some remote footage appeared to show Sanderson being searched.
His death came two days after the body of his brother, Damien Sanderson, 30, was found in a field near the site of their rampage, which also injured 18 people. The police are investigating whether Myles Sanderson killed his brother.
The stabbing rampage raised questions about why Myles Sanderson – an ex-con with 59 convictions and a long history of shocking violence – was on the streets in the first place.
Investigators gave no reason for the bloodshed.
Weighill said the juries would be made up of only Aboriginal people. Only one victim was non-Aboriginal.
The Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service said nine of those killed were from James Smith’s 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 would not say how the victims might be related.