WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service has announced that a public inquest will be launched into the deaths related to the mass stabbing in the province on Sept. 4, and a separate inquest into the death of suspect Myles Sanderson, who died shortly after he died three times. was taken into police custody. days later.
“If the accused has died, there will be no public criminal trial. Without a public hearing of the facts, many questions from the affected families and the public regarding the circumstances leading to his death will remain unanswered,” said Chief Coroner Clive . Weighill in a public statement.
Nine people were killed on the James Smith Cree Nation and one man killed at his home in the nearby village of Weldon, Sask.
Eighteen others were injured in the knife attacks.
Both men identified as suspects by police are also dead.
Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead on Sept. 5 in a grassy area near a home police were investigating in the James Smith Cree Nation as part of the investigation.
Police said his injuries were not his own, but that little else is known about his death.
Weighill said Damien Sanderson’s death will be considered as part of the public inquiry into the Sept. 4 deaths.
When asked whether Damien Sanderson is now considered a victim, rather than a suspect, as initially indicated by police, Weighill said they “have not taken a leap in that direction at all”.
“Everything that happened was on September 4, we believe, so as a coroner I get to put all those multiple deaths in one inquest.”
Investigations are hearings set up to establish facts, not to make mistakes.
The Chief Coroner has the ability to form juries composed of people from a specific cultural group.
“My intention is for the jury to be made up entirely of Indigenous people,” Weighill said.
Weighill said a public inquest will allow a jury to make recommendations to prevent preventable deaths in the future. They are also being held to determine the cause of death.
He estimated that these two studies could take place in the late spring or early summer of 2023.
Weighill said some aspects of the police investigation into the deaths have been completed, but officials are still preparing data and awaiting information such as toxicology and final pathology reports. The investigations cannot be planned until this information has been collected.
Myles Sanderson, 32, died shortly after being taken into police custody. He was pronounced dead in hospital after falling into what the RCMP described as a medical emergency.
Myle was arrested on Highway 11, south of Prince Albert, Sask., after being on the run for three-and-a-half days.
Weighill said details such as the cause of his death will not be made public until the inquest, but early results have shown that there was no external blunt trauma that caused his death.
The chief medical officer thanked the victims’ families for their patience as police processed the numerous crime scenes.
“This was undoubtedly a heartbreaking event to witness.”