Saskatchewans chief coroner has announced an inquest will examine a mass stabbing that left 11 dead — including one of the suspects. The jury will be comprised entirely of Indigenous persons.
Chief Coroner Clive Weighill did not announce a date for the inquest and said that it would be held only after the police investigation is completed.
Weighill said a seperate inquest will examine the in-custody death of Myles Sanderson, one of two suspects in the Sept. 4 stabbings on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Sask. The attacks left 18 people injured.
Sanderson, 30, died after going into medical distress shortly after he was taken into custody by RCMP on Sept. 7 following a police pursuit that ended near Rosthern, Sask.
His death is under investigation by Saskatoon Police Service. Serious police-involved incidents are investigated by an outside police service in Saskatchewan.
Weighill said the preliminary investigation into Sandersons death had shown there were no signs of blunt force trauma and that toxicology, pathology and neuropathology results were still pending.
The other suspect, Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead in a grassy area on the First Nation a day later from non-self-inflicted injuries, according to police.
Weighill said based on preliminary investigation, it is believed Damien died on Sept. 4.
The provinces top coroner announced the inquests during a news conference in Regina on Wednesday.
He said with the stabbing suspects dead, many questions could go answered for families affected by the tragedy because there will be no criminal trial.
However, Weighill cautioned the inquest is not equipped to provide the same answers as a trial.
I would like to remind the families and the public that an inquest is not designed to find fault, it is a hearing to establish the events leading to the death, Weighhill said.
Were calling a public inquest just for the transparency so that we can have a hearing where all the evidence is brought forth.
Inquests also work to determine the medical cause of a persons death and the jury may make recommendations that might prevent similar deaths in the future, Weighill said.
Weighill said it is his intention for the six-person jury to be comprised entirely of Indigenous persons. The Saskatchewan Coroners Act provides the option of deriving jury members from a specific cultural group.