More details released on accused in weekend attacks
Days after a police officer and four civilians were injured in a series of attacks in Edmonton; investigators released more details on the accused.
Police said Monday that Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, had been charged in connection to the series of attacks Saturday night.
He was arrested after allegedly hitting a police officer at a roadblock at 107A Avenue and 92 Street with a car, before stabbing him, and fleeing the area on foot at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday evening.
Hours later, police stopped a U-Haul truck at a Checkstop on Wayne Gretzky Drive, and checked the driver’s licence. The officer recognized the name as the suspect in the stabbing earlier that night –the U-Haul fled the scene and police pursued it.
Police said it appeared the U-Haul attempted to hit pedestrians as it drove along Jasper Avenue downtown.
EPS said a tactical maneuver managed to get the truck to roll, and police arrested the suspect.
Court documents obtained by CTV News show Abdulahi Sharif, 30, is facing a total of eleven charges: five counts of attempted murder, four counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm while fleeing police, and one charge each of dangerous driving, and possession of a weapon.
Police released a photo of Sharif Monday.
“These injuries we believe were as a result of the two collisions that he was involved in,” Insp Carlos Cardoso with the EPS Major Crimes Unit said.
The injured officer has been identified as Const. Mike Chernyk.
Sharif, an Edmonton resident with full refugee status has been remanded in custody, and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.
CTV News has learned Sharif was investigated before for having extremist beliefs, but was released by RCMP in 2015.
“It was thoroughly investigated, however at the time there was no charges that were laid, and I can’t speak to anything further in that investigation as it now forms part of our current investigation,” Supt. Stacey Talbot with the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET).
In this case, police found an ISIS flag in the car used in the first attack. So far, Sharif is not facing terrorism charges, police said the investigation was in its early stages.
“We are still very much in the infancy stage, this investigation is continuing and it will take us some time,” Supt. Talbot said.
EPS said the bruises and scrapes on Sharif’s face were from the two collisions Saturday night.
“These injuries we believe were as a result of the two collisions that he was involved in,” Insp. Cardoso said.
Police released more details on their pursuit as well – they said two cruisers and four tactical vehicles were used in the chase.
“If we hadn’t pursued this vehicle, in light of the use of the car earlier to run over a police officer, and the history of large vehicle attacks, in Germany, Spain and other European countries, the outcome would’ve been much worse,” Insp. Cardoso said.
INSET has taken over the investigation.
Details on those injured in attacks
Court documents revealed the identities of the four civilians injured Saturday night: Jack Zubick, Paul Biegel, Jordan Stewardson, and Kimberley Ohara.
CTV News has learned the two female victims, Stewardson and Ohara, work together at Mammoet Canada Western. Their employer told CTV News Ohara is in stable condition in hospital, and Stewardson has been released and is back home in Fort McMurray.
The company said they’re working to get help for their employees.
On Sunday, police said injuries ranged from broken bones to brain bleeds, on Monday, police released another update.
“At this time, two continue to remain in hospital and one is still in serious condition,” Supt. Talbot said.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and Const. Chernyk and we wish them a speedy recovery.”
CTV News also spoke with a nursing student who worked quickly to help one of the men injured Saturday night.
Nina Powell, 23, was working at The Pint, when her manager told her what had happened – she went outside and saw a victim lying on the ground unconscious.
“There was another girl beside him who I found out was his girlfriend, so we just stabilized his head and monitored his heart rate and respirations until the ambulance came,” Powell said.
“It’s traumatic but that’s what my nursing school prepped me for is to act in satiations like that and remain calm and act appropriately.”
Officials at The Pint announced Monday they plan on donating profits they make Saturday night to all victims of the attacks, to encourage people to live their lives and not be afraid after Saturday’s events.
With files from Jeremy Thompson and Nicole Weisberg