Canada defends refugee vetting system after vehicle and knife attack

Lucy Hill
October 6, 2017

Canadian police arrested a Somalian man early Sunday suspected of stabbing an officer and deliberately ramming pedestrians during a high-speed chase in a rented truck, injuring four in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as a "terrorist attack".

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder, five counts of risky driving, and one weapons-related charge.

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

Police raised the possibility of terrorism charges on Sunday when revealing that Sharif had been investigated two years earlier for espousing extremist views and was found to have an Islamic State flag in his auto.

Sharif has been remanded, and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning. The man got out of his vehicle and then was thrown on the police officer by striking him several blows with a knife before fleeing on foot. "It's not critical, " Knecht said of the injuries.

The officer, who suffered serious stabbing wounds to his head, face, and arm, is expected to make a full recovery. This led to a police pursuit in which four pedestrians were injured before the suspect was apprehended when the truck flipped on its side.

The auto struck a police officer standing in front of his patrol vehicle, "sending him flying 15 feet through the air" before crashing into his vehicle, according to a statement by local police.

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Subsequently, a van was stopped at a checkpoint, and the name of the driver appeared to be similar to the name of the registered owner of the vehicle that hit the officer. Officers smashed through the windshield and tossed in a stun grenade to distract the driver.

He came to Canada in 2012 and was granted refugee status in the same year, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said.

"The constable is doing surprisingly well and is receiving support from the Edmonton Police Service and his family", he said. As of Sunday evening, two of the pedestrians remained in hospital in stable condition.

"It is believed at this time that these two incidents are related, " Knecht said. "The suspect was actually not deemed at that time to pose a threat to the security of Canada".

Degrand said files on the suspect were kept and shared with other intelligence and police agencies.

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.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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