By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press on January 16, 2024.
MELFORT, Sask. – The first 911 calls as a mass stabbing unfolded on a Saskatchewan First Nation have been played on the second day of a coroner’s inquest.
“Hurry please. I’m bleeding,” Brandon Genereaux said in a call to a 911 operator after he was attacked by Myles Sanderson.
Genereaux would survive the violent rampage on the James Smith Cree Nation on Sept. 4, 2022. But his father, Robert Sanderson, was among the 11 people killed during the attacks on the First Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon
Myles Sanderson, 32, died in police custody a few days later.
Staff Sgt. Robin Zentner with the RCMP major crimes unit continued Tuesday to lay out the timeline of the attacks.
Zentner had testified Monday that Myles Sanderson and his brother, Damien Sanderson, were causing chaos on the First Nation in the days and hours before the rampage.
The inquest also saw text messages Damien Sanderson sent his wife saying he was ready to die.
Damien Sanderson was the first to be killed by his brother. Zentner said police believe he was killed after Myles Sanderson stabbed his first victim.
Damien Sanderson intervened in that stabbing, Zentner said, and Myles Sanderson’s later attacked his brother in a vehicle. Damien Sanderson ran out of the vehicle, leaving a bloody shirt on the road, the inquest heard.
Some family members began to cry as the inquest was shown images of Damien Sanderson’s shirtless body where it was later found in tall grass off the side of a road.
The inquest, which is being held in Melfort, northeast of Saskatoon, is to establish the events leading up to the killings, who died, and when and where each person was killed.
A second inquest focusing on Myles Sanderson’s death is scheduled for February.
The inquest has heard that a few days before the killings, Sanderson went to the First Nation to sell drugs. He got in a fight with his children’s mother, and Damien Sanderson tried to calm him down.
The inquest heard the brothers drove around the community, getting into fights and selling drugs.
As the brothers spent more time together, Damien Sanderson’s texts to his wife became more fatalistic. Zentner said Monday that nobody has provided a full explanation for the tone of Damien Sanderson’s texts.
RCMP have said because Myles Sanderson is dead, people may never get all the answers about what happened.
First Nations leaders have said the inquest may provide some answers to help families grieve.
A six-person jury was selected Monday and Keith Brown, the lawyer representing the First Nation in the inquests, said it’s important that half are visibly Indigenous.
Brown said the community hopes the jury recommends changes to corrections and the Parole Board.
“First Nations, Indigenous groups, are really not treated as equal partners in the justice system,” he said.
Indigenous leaders are also calling for First Nations to receive a notification when a member is released from prison.
Sanderson, who had a record of violent assaults, received statutory release earlier in 2022 but was unlawfully at large at the time of the killings.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.