Inquest into in-custody death of mass killer begins with RCMP testimony

A coroner’s inquest is hearing details about how Mounties searched for a man who killed 11 people and injured 17 others in the days after the mass stabbing in Saskatchewan.

Myles Sanderson had been on the run for several days when police caught up to him on Sept. 7, 2022. 

During a pursuit, the 32-year-old drove a truck into a ditch on a highway near north of Saskatoon.

Police said he collapsed while being arrested and died.  

Three days earlier, Sanderson went from home to home on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon, kicking in doors and attacking people.

RCMP Supt. Devin Pugh has told the inquest that Mounties formed an apprehension team to track Sanderson down. 

Pugh, who was the critical incident commander at the time, testified Monday that the search involved officers from major crimes, criminal analysts and helicopters.

A separate inquest held last month into the massacre heard how Sanderson was unlawfully at large at the time. In the days before the killings, he and his brother Damien Sanderson caused chaos, selling drugs and assaulting people in the community,

Damien Sanderson was the first to be killed on Sept. 4, 2022. Myles Sanderson then continued his rampage.

The first inquest heard that after the killings, Sanderson travelled to Crystal Springs, a hamlet in east-central Saskatchewan near Wakaw, where he was able to evade capture for three days and seven hours. Sanderson raided a garage for food and drinks and made a camp in the nearby bush. 

Not long before he was caught, a homeowner called police to say Sanderson had broken into the house and fled in her vehicle. 

Officers pursued the killer, and RCMP ran the vehicle Sanderson was driving into a ditch near Rosthern. 

Police said Sanderson went into medical distress and was taken to hospital in Saskatoon, where he was declared dead.

The inquest, which is scheduled for a week in Saskatoon, is required under legislation because Sanderson died in custody.

It is to establish when and where Sanderson died and the cause of his death. The six-personjury may provide recommendations.

The first inquest, which looked at each of the killings, issued more than two dozen recommendations.

Jurors suggested finding ways to better locate offenders who are unlawfully at large and called for further funding and training for security on James Smith Cree Nation. 

The presiding coroner recommended improvements for the RCMP warrant enforcement suppression team.

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