A manhunt for the second suspect is under way as Canada flies its flag above Parliament at half-staff to honour the victims.

Investigators examine the crime scene outside the home of Wes Petterson, 77, who was killed in the stabbings on Sunday.
Investigators examine the crime scene outside the home of Wes Petterson, 77, who was killed in the stabbings on Sunday. (Robert Bumsted / AP)

One of the suspects in the stabbing deaths of 10 people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has been found dead, and his injuries are not self-inflicted.

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said on Monday Damien Sanderson, 31, has been found dead and that they believe his brother, Myles Sanderson, 30, is injured and on the run. While Damien's body was found near the stabbing sites they believe Myles is in Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.

“His body was located outdoors in a heavily grassed area in proximity to a house that was being examined. We can confirm he has visible injuries. These injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this point," said RCMP Commanding Officer Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore.

The discovery of the body came on the second day of a massive manhunt for the pair, who are suspected of carrying out a series of stabbings in an Indigenous community and a nearby town, which also left 18 people injured. 

These comprised the deadliest attacks in the nation’s history.

Authorities have said some of the victims were targeted and others appeared to have been chosen at random on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the town of Weldon in Saskatchewan. 

While they believe Myles is in Regina, about 335 kilometres south of where the stabbings happened, authorities have issued alerts in Canada's three vast prairie provinces — which also include Manitoba and Alberta — and contacted US border officials.

'No one in this town is ever going to sleep again'

With one suspect still at large, fear gripped communities in the rural, working-class area of Saskatchewan, surrounded by farmland, that were terrorised by the crimes. 

“No one in this town is ever going to sleep again. They’re going to be terrified to open their door,” said Ruby Works, who also lost someone close to her and is a resident of Weldon, which has a population of about 200 and is home to many retirees.

As the Labor Day holiday weekend drew to a close Monday, police urged Saskatchewan residents who were returning from trips away to look for suspicious activity around their homes before entering.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the pair of suspects and both men had faced at least one count each of murder and attempted murder. More charges were expected.

Police have given few details about the men. Last May, Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers issued a wanted list that included Myles Sanderson, writing that he was “unlawfully at large.”

Possible drug motive

Canadian police got their first call about a stabbing at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday, and within minutes heard about several more. In all, dead or wounded people were found at 13 different locations on the sparsely populated reserve and in the town, Blackmore said. 

“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities, and we demand all authorities to take direction from the chiefs and councils and their membership to create safer and healthier communities for our people,” said Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

As the manhunt stretched on, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray urged anyone with information to come forward.

Among the 10 killed was Lana Head, who is the former partner of Michael Brett Burns and the mother of their two daughters.

"It’s sick how jail time, drugs and alcohol can destroy many lives,” Burns told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. 

Burns later posted on Facebook that there were dead and wounded people everywhere on the reserve, making it look like "a war zone.”

“The look in their eyes couldn’t express the pain and suffering for all those who were assaulted,” he posted.

Weldon residents have identified one of the dead as Wes Petterson, a retired widower who made the coffee every morning at the senior centre. He loved gardening, picking berries, canning, and making jam and cakes, recalled William Works, 47.

“He would give you the shirt off his back if he could,” William Works said, describing his neighbour as a “gentle old fellow” and “community first.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the flag above Canada’s parliament building in Ottawa would be flown at half-staff to honour the victims.

“Sadly, over these past years, tragedies like these have become all too common place. Saskatchewanians and Canadians will do what we always do in times of difficulty and anguish, we will be there for each other," Trudeau said.

Source: AP