Ten people have been killed and at least 15 others injured after mass stabbings in an indigenous community in the Saskatchewan province of Canada.
The attacks happened at multiple locations, with police investigating 13 crime scenes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
Officers are hunting for two suspects, Damien Sanderson and Myles Sanderson, who it is believed are travelling in a black Nissan Rogue.
Some of the victims appeared to have been targeted, while others were attacked randomly, and there may be additional injured victims who transported themselves to various hospitals, police said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the incidents as “horrific and heartbreaking” while the province’s premier, Scott Moe, tweeted he had no words to “adequately describe the pain and loss caused by this senseless violence”.
A statement by indigenous leaders indicated the attacks, at the indigenous community of James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon, may have been drug related.
“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities,” said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. The group represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan.
The incident, which ranks among the deadliest mass killings in modern Canadian history, is certain to reverberate throughout the country, which is unaccustomed to mass killings more commonly seen across the southern border in the United States.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said patients were being treated at several sites.
Mark Oddan, ambulance service spokesman, said two helicopters were dispatched from nearby Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and another from Regina.
According to local media, a mother-of-two was among the dead.
Another victim was identified locally as Wes Petterson, 77.
Weldon resident Ruby Works said he loved his cats, was proud of his homemade Saskatoon berry jam and frequently helped out his neighbours
“He didn’t do anything. He didn’t deserve this. He was a good, kind hearted man,″ she added.
Robert Rush said Mr Petterson’s adult grandson was in the basement at the time and phoned police.
The public was warned to take “appropriate precautions”.
“Do not leave a secure location. Use caution allowing others into your residence. Do not approach suspicious persons. Do not pick up hitch-hikers,” police said.
Large numbers of people were in the area as a sold-out bank holiday Canadian Football League game was taking place in nearby Regina.