CAF Veteran Loses Life Protecting Family in Saskatchewan Attacks

Above image: Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Veteran Earl Burns lost his life in the Saskatchewan attacks on Sept. 4, 2022. 

A memorial now stands where a Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Veteran took his last breaths earlier this month in the horrific Saskatchewan attacks.

Earl Burns, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and elder of the James Smith Cree Nation, was killed on Sept. 4 while protecting his family during the stabbings that left nine other community members dead.

Burn’s Sister Statement

In a statement to Prince Albert Right Now (PANow) online article, Burn’s sister, Deborah McLean said, “My brother Earl Burns was a true hero. He fought til the death to protect his family. He was enjoying his role as an Elder, husband, father to three, Moosom and Chapan to many.

“He is also a son to his 92-year-old dad Mervin Burns, mother deceased 2007, many uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, 4 sisters and 4 brothers. Earl drove bus for many years for BCCS. He was a proud veteran for the Canadian army and attended almost every powwow in the Indian territories. He was loyal, a good provider, and a very proud Moosom. At this time, we ask the media to give our community time to deal with the shock and trauma of the life changing and devastating tragedies, which is affecting everyone in our community.”

Hero to the End

According to reports, Burns, who was 66, stood up to the attackers in an effort to protect his grandchildren.

Burns, who was a bus driver for more than 20 years in his community, then got on his bus to pursue the suspects until he succumbed to his wounds. The ditch where his school bus went into is where the memorial now stands.

A Proud CAF veteran

According to an interview with CityNews, Burns was a proud veteran of the CAF.

“Earl served his country. He was loyal, and he was proud. He was really proud of that,” said Burns’ brother-in-law Garnet Eyahpaise.

After his service in the military, he went on to be a school bus driver. It has been noted that he drove “a couple of generations” of children of the community.

He was also a proud Elder of the James Smith Cree Nation.

Saskatchewan Attacks

The Sept. 4 stabbing rampage is said to be the deadliest mass killing in Saskatchewan, leaving not only 10 Canadians dead but nearly 20 injured.

The attacks began in the morning of Sunday, Sept. 4. Both alleged suspects, brothers Myles and Damien Sanderson, died within days of the attack from sustained injuries.

The police have given no clear motive as to the attacks.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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