Live updates: No indication RCMP actions caused, contributed to Myles Sanderson’s death, detective says

On Tuesday, the inquest began with testimony from Saskatoon Police Service Detective Sgt. Ken Kane.

Warning: This story contains graphic and disturbing details some readers may find upsetting.


A Saskatoon police detective says there is no indication the actions of RCMP officers led to the death of the man responsible for the James Smith Cree Nation mass stabbing.

Sanderson died in police custody after an extensive manhunt that ended in a high-speed chase near Rosthern.

Going well over 130 kilometres-per-hour on the highway near Saskatoon, RCMP Const. Heidi Marshall struck from behind the stolen vehicle Sanderson was driving, pushing it off the road and into a ditch, the inquest heard. Sanderson was pulled out of the vehicle at gunpoint and arrested. Minutes later, he went into medical distress, and died at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon later that day.

On Tuesday, Saskatoon Police Service Det. Sgt. Ken Kane walked the inquest through the dozens of interviews and wide-ranging evidence conducted and examined by SPS officers. Because Sanderson died in RCMP custody, a different police agency was required by law to investigate the response by RCMP officers involved in the high-speed chase and arrest that morning.

“There is no indication that the actions of the RCMP members caused or contributed to the death of Myles Sanderson,” said Kane, summarizing the investigation’s most essential conclusion.

“You should have shot me”

Video and audio recordings from RCMP vehicles show what happened in the minutes after Sanderson was arrested.

As the stolen Chevrolet Avalanche came to a stop in the ditch and officers approached, Sanderson’s hands were up, but he was moving them — towards his face, back down, repeating the movement.

Later, after an officer found the powdered cocaine and rolled up $20 Sanderson had in his hand when he was arrested, Kane said that explained a lot.

“My reasonable conclusion is that he was ingesting cocaine at the end of the pursuit,” Kane said.

After handcuffing Sanderson on the ground, officers put him up against a police vehicle and started searching him.

“He’s smiling, kind of laughing, joking … certainly not somebody who appears to have any injuries from the accident or being taken into custody,” Kane described.

“I’m ready to die now,” Sanderson is heard telling the officers in the video, before asking how many people he had killed.

“You should have shot me,” Sanderson told the officers, speaking fast and high-pitched, repeating the sentiment multiple times in a variety of profanity-laced comments. “Shoot me, man.”

One officer responded: “Luckily, it didn’t have to come to that.”

But Sanderson’s condition was deteriorating quickly — he started swaying backwards and forwards where he stood. His strange, heavy breathing was caught on police microphones. While he was being walked from one cruiser to another, he stumbled, as though he couldn’t get his feet under him.

“You should’ve shot me,” he gasps again, quiet and slurred.

As officers called for paramedics to come out and meet them on-site, they lowered Sanderson down on the grass beside the vehicle. Almost immediately afterwards, Sanderson crumpled and started to convulse.

When asked if he had taken anything, Sanderson’s reply was unclear, but officers thought he said ‘meth.’

As Sanderson’s nose began to bleed, officers gave multiple doses of Naloxone.

Paramedics arrived and started chest compressions, and at 3:51, Sanderson goes into the ambulance that will take him to hospital in Saskatoon.

Collision not a factor in Sanderson’s death, says detective

After the ambulance drove away, Kane described what SPS collision analysts were looking for at the scene, and emphasized that the precision immobilization technique (PIT maneuver) Marshall used — hitting Sanderson’s vehicle to force him off the road — was not a factor in his death.

RCMP were on-scene on Highway 11 after the arrest of Myles Sanderson, north of Saskatoon, on Sept. 7, 2022.
RCMP were on-scene on Highway 11 after the arrest of Myles Sanderson, north of Saskatoon, on Sept. 7, 2022.Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

At such high speeds, it took very little contact to send Sanderson’s vehicle spinning off the road. In fact, Kane said, if Marshall had driven into Sanderson’s vehicle with much more force, it would likely have caused “a more devastating collision,” in which there was “a great likelihood that Mr. Sanderson and Constable Marshall would have been seriously injured, if not killed.”

The only actual damage to the stolen Chevrolet Avalanche was a broken tail lamp, a couple minor dents on the rear bumper, and clumps of dirt and grass packed into the exhaust pipe after it went into the ditch.

Similarly, the police vehicle Marshall was driving took damage to the front lights and bumper, which Kane described as “essentially cosmetic.”

“Once the scene was concluded, this vehicle was in fact driven back to the RCMP detachment by a member,” he said.

Though Marshall, as a regular RCMP detachment member, was not trained in this kind of high-speed maneuver, Kane said he and the rest of the SPS investigators had nothing but praise for her actions that day.

“To say that she perfectly executed this is not an overstatement,” Kane said.

“It’s exactly what happened. The fact that she did it at this speed, with that ability, is, frankly, quite unbelievable. … I am impressed with the control with which with the PIT maneuver was executed. This was the best possible outcome for a highly stressful situation.”

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