Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, four others gets 28 years in prison
EDMONTON -- Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the man convicted of attempted murder for an attack on an Edmonton police officer and four others in 2017, was sentenced to 28 years in prison Friday.
Sharif's sentence was delivered by Justice Paul Belzil in an Edmonton courtroom.
"Although no sentence can repair the terrible harm done, hopefully the conclusion of this case will allow those impacted to have some measure of closure," Belzil said before handing down the sentence.
Sharif, 32, was found guilty in the Sept. 30, 2017 attack on Const. Mike Chernyk in which he struck the officer, who was stationed outside of a CFL game, with a vehicle, then got out and stabbed Chernyk repeatedly.
On the attempted murder count against Chernyk, Sharif was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
"There is no evidence that he is remorseful for his attack on Const. Chernyk," said Belzil. "As noted, the absence of more serious injury was due to a matter of luck which should in no way assist the offender in sentencing."
Belzil said Chernyk was targeted only because he was a police officer, and said the 18-year sentence was intended to "denounce this behaviour in the strongest terms."
On the same night, Sharif mowed down four pedestrians with a U-Haul van on Jasper Avenue. He was convicted of four additional counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, criminal flight causing bodily harm and dangerous driving.
"It is particularly aggravating that at no time did the offender voluntarily stop the U-Haul," said Belzil. "Rather, the vehicle stopped only after it was rammed by a police vehicle as it attempted to turn eastbound."
For the additional attempted murder counts, Sharif was handed a 10-year sentence to be served consecutively with the 18-year sentence, bringing his total sentence to 28 years.
He was also handed 10-year sentences for the aggravated assault and criminal flight causing bodily harm charges, and a two-year sentence for the dangerous driving count, all to be served concurrently.
With credit for time served, he'll be behind bars for just under 25 years.
Crown lawyers had been calling for a life sentence for the attempted murder charges with a recommendation of no parole eligibility, saying Sharif's actions were "unrelenting and deliberate" as opposed to spontaneous.
"When you have a specific number in mind, when you're expecting a life sentence, that's a difficult thing to experience," said Crown lawyer Shelley Bykewich.
'A TERRORIST ATTACK'
Now that a sentence has been handed down, the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET), a counter-terrorism unit, confirmed an ISIS flag was found in Sharif's automobile.
Reports of the flag first arose following Sharif's arrest, but no terrorism charges were ever laid against him.
Outside court Friday, Supt. Stacey Talbot said she believed the attack was, in INSET's opinion, an act of terrorism.
"From a police perspective in terms of the Alberta Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, it was investigated as a terrorist attack," said Talbot, adding she still believes that to be true.
She could not reveal whether the flag was homemade or procured form somewhere else.
Belzil called the prolonged attack a "criminal rampage" and said the civilians involved were targets of opportunity.
SHARIF SILENT DURING TRIAL
His trial was an unusual one as Sharif, a Somali refugee, elected to represent himself but neglected to take an active role in his trial.
An Amicus was appointed to offer him impartial legal advice, but Sharif did not speak with him once throughout the trial or sentence hearing. Sharif also neglected to take the stand during the trial.
While his sentence was read Friday, Sharif often stared straight ahead, showing no emotion.
During the hearing, victims of the U-Haul attack described the physical and mental pain they've been in for more than two years.
Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee also delivered a statement, saying the department would never fully comprehend the impact of Sharif's attack on Chernyk and others.
Speaking outside of court after the sentence was read, McFee reacted with mixed emotions.
"I feel like we've been heard, but I see the victims and I see what impact this had on our city and my police service, and you're always going to wonder if it's enough," he said.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk and The Canadian Press