RCMP face scrutiny in wake of Edmonton attack

Robyn Ryan
October 6, 2017

Canadian police said early on Sunday that an attack on an officer outside a football game with a auto and knife and a high-speed chase of a U-Haul that left four people injured in the western city of Edmonton, Alberta, are being investigated as acts of terrorism.

Officers said pending charges included terrorism and five counts of attempted murder, but they did not reveal his name.

According to Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht, both the incidents are interlinked and are under investigation as acts of terrorism.

The terrorist was a Muslim "refugee, a Somali national named Abdulahi Hasan Sharif who was "known" to police".

It started when a police officer handling crowd control at a football game was hit by a speeding vehicle that rammed through a barrier and sent him flying five metres through the air.

The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing Const. Mike Chernyk, a 10-year veteran, as he was lying on the ground.

Police officer attacked with auto and knife while pedestrians targeted in high-speed chase in western city of Edmonton.

"He was in a struggle for his life, holding onto his gun with one hand and blocking the knife with his other", Knecht said Sunday. This led to a police pursuit in which four pedestrians were injured before the suspect was apprehended when the truck flipped on its side.

Later, two officers - including one who had been on the job for two weeks - stopped a U-Haul on Wayne Gretzky Drive and 112 Street.

Sharif was accused of stabbing 48-year-old Constable Mike Chernyk, after Sharif ran into the police officer with his Chevy Malibu auto.

In Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Sharif crossed legally into Canada in 2012 at a regular border crossing and obtained refugee status at that time. Police used a flashbang to distract the driver.

Two of the four people injured on Saturday remained in hospital, with one listed in serious condition, RCMP Superintendent Stacey Talbot told a news conference.

"He was stabbed several times and he was able to fend off the attacker even after getting thrown through the air after being struck by the vehicle", said Det.

The other two pedestrians have been released from hospital.

Conservative Pierre Paul-Hus questioned Mr. Goodale in the House of Commons on Monday, saying "Canadians need to know which information the RCMP had on this individual to undertake the investigation".

A lone gunman, identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, fired shots into the crowd at a country music festival on the Vegas Strip, killing at least 50 and wounding at least 400 more late Sunday night.

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