A mother of two, who hours before her death posted on social media about having “many good memories to cherish,” and a 77-year-old widower were the first victims to be identified in a stabbing spree in Canada that killed 10 people and wounded at least 15 others mostly in a sparsely populated indigenous community on Sunday.
Two male suspects were still at large on Monday as police tried to determine a motive for the attacks that shocked a nation where mass violence is rare.
The incidents took place in the James Smith Cree Nation and the village of Weldon in the province of Saskatchewan, police said.
Hours before the stabbings, Lana Head, a mother of two daughters, posted on Facebook that she had “so many good memories to cherish.”
Head’s friends and family were shocked by her death and paid tributes on social media. “Not the way I wanted her to leave this world,” said Melodie Whitecap, a childhood friend of Head, who said she had planned to make a visit to Head soon.
“I will miss our chats and seeing your chipmunk cheek smile,” Teresa Stewart, who lived in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, added, referring to Head.
Head’s former partner also spoke to local media and implied the stabbings may have been related to drugs and alcohol. “It’s sick how jail time, drugs and alcohol can destroy many lives,” Michael Brett Burns, Head’s former partner, told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
A statement by indigenous leaders also indicated the attacks may have been drug-related. Police had not yet identified a motive but said “it appears that some of the victims may have been targeted, and some may be random.”
Residents in the village of Weldon in Saskatchewan identified one of the victims in the community as Wes Petterson, a 77-year-old widower.
“He was just a lovely man,” said Doreen Lees, 89, of Weldon. James Smith Cree Nation is an indigenous community with a population of about 3 400 people largely engaged in farming, hunting and fishing. Weldon is a village of some 200 people.