'Smug, cocky and arrogant': Saskatchewan inquest hears of mass killer's arrest

'Smug, cocky and arrogant'

A mass killer on the run after a stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan was "smug" while officers took him into custody, a coroner's inquest heard Wednesday.

Const. Bill Rowley told jurors Myles Sanderson was laughing as police placed him in handcuffs.

"Smug, cocky and arrogant," Rowley said of Sanderson's demeanour during his arrest on the side of a highway on Sept. 7, 2022.

Sanderson had been on the run for several days when police caught up to him. Three days earlier, he had kicked in doors and attacked people on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon, killing 11 and injuring 17.

During the third day of the inquest into the killer's death, RCMP officers shared dramatic details of Sanderson's arrest, during which he went into medical distress.

A forensic pathologist testified Tuesday that Sanderson overdosed on cocaine.

The inquest, scheduled until Friday in Saskatoon, is to establish when and where Sanderson died and the cause of his death. The six-person jury may also provide recommendations.

Jurors were shown video from RCMP dashboard cameras of a high-speed police pursuit.

Rowley told jurors that Sanderson drove above 160 km/h in the wrong direction on Highway 11, a main travel route for vehicles heading from the north to Saskatoon.

"It was a very dramatic, unfolding situation," Rowley said.

The chase ended after a Mountie used her vehicle to ram the truck Sanderson was driving. Sanderson lost control and went into a ditch.

Officers descended on the truck. Sanderson moved his hand toward his mouth while he was still in the vehicle, said Rowley.

Const. Travis Adema, who was among the responding officers, said it's possible the movement was Sanderson ingesting drugs. But "at that time, it could have been anything."

Rowley, Adema and other officers removed the killer from the truck and took him into custody.

The inquest was shown video of Sanderson, as he was being searched, asking officers how many people he had killed.

The 32-year-old also told Mounties they should have shot him.

Video shows Sanderson begin to convulse. Officers ask whether he has taken any drugs.

"I could feel his body tense up and start to shake," Rowley said. "I knew it wasn't good."

In the video, Sanderson's knees buckle and he is placed on the ground as officers provide medical help.

Const. Sean Nave, who was a paramedic before becoming a Mountie, arrived on the scene. He told the inquest it appeared Sanderson was having seizures.

Nave administered two doses of naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. It would have no impact on a cocaine overdose.

"I could not find a pulse," Nave said.

While officers were tending to Sanderson, Adema said he saw something in the killer's hand. It was a plastic bag with a white substance and a rolled-up $20 bill inside, which later tested positive for cocaine.

Nave joined paramedics in an ambulance that transported Sanderson to a hospital in Saskatoon, where the killer later died.

Darryl Burns, whose sister was killed on the First Nation, said watching Sanderson’s capture in the video brought conflicting emotions. There was relief to see the danger was gone but anger Sanderson didn’t show any remorse, said Burns.

"I felt anger when he was talking about the body count … to me, he was looking for fame, looking for some kind of recognition," Burns said.

A separate inquest into the massacre was held last month, examining each of the killings and issuing more than two dozen recommendations.

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