A 30-year-old Somali refugee has been charged with Attempted Murder after he stabbed a police officer in Edmonton. He also injured several pedestrians during his attempt to escape law enforcement officials. He was later identified as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif. The suspect, who applied for asylum, was being investigated more than two years ago and was deemed not a threat. ABC news stated that the suspect was being investigated for promoting extreme ideology after complaints were made but after the investigation in 2015, no evidence was produced to lay charges.

The attack

The attack occurred when the suspect in a Chevy Malibu hit a police officer who was standing in front of Commonwealth Stadium where a Canadian Football League game was held on Saturday, September 29, for military appreciation.

The Guardian reported that the suspect rammed into the traffic control barricade injuring a police officer. He proceeded to get out of the vehicle and stab the police officer multiple times. After his attack on the police officer, he attempted to flee the scene on foot, authorities stated. An Islamic State Militant group flag was found in the Malibu vehicle.

The suspect was later identified at a driving checkpoint in the province of Alberta. The Guardian stated that the suspect was driving a rented U-Haul and police upon checking his license found that he was the owner of the Malibu.

He attempted to evade police officers and in the process injured four pedestrians before the van flipped over.

Witnesses of the attacks said that the whole incident was surreal and unbelievable. Concerned citizens, in one case a registered nurse, offered medical aid to victims who were mowed down by the accused as reported in the Guardian.

The suspect is charged with five counts of attempted murder for the stabbing of the police officer and the deliberate injury caused to several pedestrians who were injured when he drove into them during the high-speed chase while trying to evade authorities. The Guardian reported that authorities had not given an official identification of the suspect since he has not yet been charged with the offenses.

The injured police officer sustained stab wounds on the head and face. He was released from the hospital on Sunday along with two other pedestrians who were victims of the attack. One pedestrian is said to be in a critical condition while another suffered a fractured skull but has since regained consciousness.

Actions by authorities

Authorities are saying that they believe the attack was a one-man operation and cautions citizens against panic. In 2014, the terrorist threat level was placed at medium, and authorities are saying they will keep it at this level. ABC News reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had condemned this terrorist attack. He stated that it is an example of hate which citizens must be vigilant.

A spokesman for the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council noted that these types of actions seek to divide communities and denounced the activities of such persons. A rally was being organized to show community togetherness and support as well as a stand against such terror tactics.

Knecht has warned the public to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings at all times. The police are working with the Royal Canadian Mounted police’s national security enforcement team and other Canadian security agencies to ensure the safety of citizens.