Victim of Saskatchewan stabbings described as “hero and true matriarch”

‘She was protecting her son, she was protecting three little boys’

Bonnie Burns is shown in a Saskatchewan RCMP handout photo. Bonnie Burns has been identified by RCMP as one of the 10 people killed in a Labour Day weekend stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO Saskatchewan RCMP **MANDATORY CREDIT**

A woman killed in a stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan over the Labour Day weekend was remembered Wednesday as a caring matriarch and a hero who died while trying to protect her children.

Bonnie Burns, 48, is among the 10 people killed in a series of stabbings on the James Smith Cree Nation northeast of Saskatoon and the nearby village of Weldon. Police say one of the suspects was also been found dead.

At an emotional news conference, her brother Mark Arcand’s voice wavered as he said the family feels broken and hurt.

“Right outside of her home, she was killed by senseless acts. She was protecting her son. She was protecting three little boys,” Arcand said.

“How can somebody do this to women and children? Words can’t express the pain that we’re feeling.”

Burns’s 28-year-old son Gregory was also killed in the attack, as was a woman who lived nearby and came to help. Another son, a teenager, was stabbed in the neck and survived, Arcand said.

Some younger children inside the home witnessed the attack and had to walk by the victims afterward, he added.

“I think they had to pass by their mom, and that innocent lady, and their brother laying outside, and they were taken away to family within the community.”

RCMP released a full list of the names of the dead Wednesday:

– Thomas Burns, 23, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Carol Burns, 46, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Gregory Burns, 28, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Lydia Gloria Burns, 61, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Bonnie Burns, 48, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Earl Burns, 66, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Lana Head, 49, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Christian Head, 54, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Robert Sanderson, 49, of James Smith Cree Nation

– Wesley Petterson, 78, of Weldon, Sask.

RCMP have said 18 other people were injured in the attacks. As of Tuesday, 10 remained in hospital, including three in critical condition.

Police continue to search for 32-year-old Myles Sanderson, who is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and break and enter.

RCMP surrounded a home Tuesday in the First Nation community after a reported sighting of Sanderson. But they did not find him.

His brother Damien Sanderson, who was also named as a suspect in the killings, was found dead Monday in a grassy area not far from one of the crime scenes. Police said they believe he did not kill himself and are investigating whether Myles Sanderson was involved in the death.

Arcand urged people to remember Bonnie Burns as a loving mother and foster parent who helped people in her community and cared for those around her. Her husband, Brian, sat beside Arcand but did not speak. Photographs of the family were displayed.

Arcand said coming to terms with the tragedy and why the attacks occurred will take time.

“We don’t know. We want to leave it at that. We need the RCMP to do their work, we need to let the professionals do their work, and we need to support that work.”

—Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

RELATED: RCMP come up empty after tip in search for Saskatchewan stabbing suspect

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