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'Our family is here to forgive': Sask. stabbing victim's brother comforts suspect's widow


During an emotional news conference, a man whose sister was killed in a series of stabbing attacks in Saskatchewan wrapped his arm around the widow of one of the suspects and spoke about forgiveness.

Darryl Burns' sister Gloria died while trying to help another victim in the attacks on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Sask. that resulted in 11 deaths — including one of the suspected attackers — and 18 serious injuries.

The news conference held on the First Nation came a day after the arrest and subsequent death of Myles Sanderson.

The 31-year-old was the prime suspect in the mass stabbing incident. He was taken into custody south of Rosthern, Sask. after a four-day manhunt and later died after going into medical distress.

His brother, Damien, 31, was also originally sought in connection with the attacks.

He was found dead on Monday in a grassy area on James Smith Cree Nation. His injuries did not appear self-inflicted, according to police.

Burns directly addressed Damien's widow who sobbed as he spoke.

"Who are we as people? We're standing here talking about forgiveness," Burns said

"I have a young lady here. Her husband was one of the accused. … Our family is here to forgive," Burns said as he put his arm around the sobbing woman.

"This woman shouldn't have to bear that kind of guilt and responsibility."

The press conference began with remarks from James Smith Chief Wally Burns, who issued a plea for an end to violence and asked for more resources to prevent future tragedies.

"These acts of violence have to stop and they have to stop now," he said.

The James Smith chief called for government support for measures such as local tribal policing and treatment centres to help those who are suffering from addictions.

With news of Queen Elizabeth's death breaking just before the news conference began, he also offered his gratitude for a message she issued just a day prior, offering her condolences to the community.

The chief also thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe for their support in the wake of the tragedy.

Moe, who also spoke at the news conference, called the attacks an "unthinkable and senseless tragedy."

"Please know that you are not finding your way through this alone. We are all reaching out to support you and your families," Moe said.

He said the province would be working with the federal government to help support those affected by the tragedy.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki also attended the event.

"It's really with a heavy heart that we stand here," Lucki said.

"The loss felt by the families, the loved ones, the community for those whose lives were taken in this horrific event is unimaginable," Lucki said.

The nation's top police officer said the RCMP is open to working with the First Nation in moving towards a self-governing police force in the community.

"We can provide that structure so that we can work together for a self-governed police service," she said.

"This can never happen again."

During the news conference, a Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations representative said a community trust fund is being established to accept financial donations and provide help in the wake of the attacks.

On Thursday afternoon, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said there were still nine patients being treated in-hospital in connection with the attack.

The SHA said all the patients are in stable condition. Top Stories

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