Weldon, Sask., residents recall strange encounter shortly after stabbing alert

·2 min read
Two Weldon, Sask., residents say a man who claims he was injured came to their door on Sunday morning, shortly after an RCMP alert was issued warning people about a stabbing spree in the nearby community of James Smith Cree Nation.  (Chanss Lagaden/CBC - image credit)
Two Weldon, Sask., residents say a man who claims he was injured came to their door on Sunday morning, shortly after an RCMP alert was issued warning people about a stabbing spree in the nearby community of James Smith Cree Nation. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC - image credit)

Leona Lees was jolted awake Sunday morning to the sound of an emergency alert from RCMP about several stabbings on the nearby James Smith Cree Nation, located roughly 30 kilometres northeast from her home in Weldon, Sask.

Not thinking much of it, she started her day the way she usually does: with a cup of coffee on her front deck.

However, shortly after she sat down, the woman saw a dark-coloured SUV zoom by — an unusual sight for a sleepy village of roughly 200 people.

"Why is that car going so fast? Give me a break. Slow down!" she remembered thinking.

A few minutes later, she said a man walked around the side of her house with his face covered asking for help.

"He said, 'I need somebody to take me to the hospital. My mouth has been hurt — I've been stabbed,'" her mother, Doreen Lees, remembered.

Chanss Lagaden/CBC
Chanss Lagaden/CBC

When they asked to see the injuries and he refused, Leona said she went to grab her phone, and when she came back, she saw the man running away.

At that point, she said she called 911. Within 10 minutes, she said police officers arrived on scene and took a statement.

Leona said she's "horrified" about the situation, since she wasn't aware of the severity of the circumstances nearby when she was approached by the man, whose identity is still unknown.

"We didn't know; we just thought that someone was injured and wanted to help him out — that's all," she said. "And we were ready to give him help."

Latest from police

Police confirmed Monday that one of the two suspects has been found dead. Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead with wounds that did not appear to be self-inflicted, said Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP.

Myles Sanderson, 30, is still at large and is wanted. The RCMP also confirmed Monday at the media briefing that the two were brothers. Police said Myles may have sustained injuries, though that has yet to be confirmed.

Ten people died in the attacks on Sunday in various locations in the province, with 18 injured. Neither of these tallies include the Sanderson brothers.

The leadership of James Smith Cree Nation has asked for privacy.

'Unspeakable violence'

In a statement issued late Sunday, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, offered sympathies to the families and communities affected.

"The FSIN executive sends our deepest condolences and offers a message of solidarity with the people of James Smith Cree Nation after the unspeakable violence that claimed the lives of innocent people. Our hearts break for all those impacted," it read.

The FSIN also said it has been in contact with the federal government, which has committed to providing support to the communities.

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