Police investigate the scene where a car crashed into a roadblock in Edmonton on September 30, 2017. Public Safety Canada warns that extremists are increasingly carrying out simple but deadly attacks using knives and vehicles. In its annual public report on the terrorist threat to Canada, the department notes such unsophisticated but "high-impact" assaults took place recently in Edmonton, where five people were injured, and in New York, killing eight people and injuring several more. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

‘Wanted to kill people:’ Crown says man stabbed Edmonton officer, drove into strangers

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges

A Crown prosecutor says a man accused of stabbing a police officer and striking four pedestrians with a cube van two years ago wanted to kill them.

Elizabeth Wheaton delivered an opening statement Wednesday to a Court of Queen’s Bench jury at the start of a trial in Edmonton for Abdulahi Hasan Sharif.

Sharif, 32, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, which include five courts of attempted murder. He is also charged with aggravated assault against the police officer and dangerous driving.

Sharif, who now has dreadlocks, sat in the prisoner’s box wearing an orange jumpsuit.

“Once you have heard the evidence, it’s the Crown position that you will be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Abdulahi Sharif wanted to kill people,” Wheaton told the jury.

“He tried first to murder Const. (Mike) Chernyk and then, during an extremely dangerous driving pattern, he fled from police causing bodily harm to four strangers. It is the Crown’s position that he intentionally tried to kill these people by hitting them.”

Chernyk was on duty outside a Canadian Football League game when he was struck by a vehicle around 8 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2017.

“He noticed headlights coming toward him,” said Wheaton. “He heard the sound of a vehicle accelerating. He tried to move out of the way, but it was too late. The vehicle plowed into him.”

A number of bystanders came to his aid.

ALSO READ: Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

“Suddenly the driver of that vehicle was there — a black male in dark clothing with a knife,” said Wheaton. “He was trying to stab Const. Chernyk in the head with that knife. The bystanders saw the knife and they fled, fearing for their lives.”

The officer was left alone and fought for his life, she said. With the man on top of him, Chernyk knew he was being stabbed and tried to grab the attacker’s hand.

“But suddenly he could feel the attacker’s other hand trying to get to his gun in his holster.

“With one hand still holding off the attack with the knife, he used his other hand and he pushed as hard as he could on that (gun) to keep it safe,” she said. “Eventually he was able to roll over and get the other hand.

“His attacker lost the knife and the two got up. Const. Chernyk’s attacker then fled into the night.”

Wheaton said evidence will show that Sharif was the registered owner of the white Chevrolet Malibu than ran into Chernyk.

A large number of Edmonton police and RCMP were deployed to find Sharif, said Wheaton. About 11:30 p.m., an RCMP officer at a checkpoint pulled over a U-Haul van. As the officer went to check the driver’s identification, the van sped off.

“That was the beginning of a dangerous flight from the police that would eventually result in collisions with at least four pedestrians,” she said. “These were unsuspecting strangers who were just trying to have a fun night out on the town.”

Wheaton said the van hit speeds of 85 km/h through narrow downtown streets, hitting several vehicles and barely missing others, before it was intentionally stopped when a police truck rammed into it and pushed the van on its side.

“(Officers) smashed through the windshield, they pulled him out and they handcuffed him. It was over.”

The Crown, she said, will show video from both scenes and call about 40 witnesses.

Sharif is not represented by a lawyer, but attorney Greg Lazin has been appointed to help him and the court by clarifying information or raising potential legal issues.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

330 km walk for charity stopping in Sylvan Lake

Chris Sadleir, 45, is walking from Calgary to Edmonton to raise money for the Lung Association

School curriculum to focus on basics, says LaGrange

Minister Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer South, said it will ‘unleash student potential’

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

Masks now mandatory in schools for Grades 4-12, staff

Students, teachers and staff will be provided with two reusable masks to be worn in schools

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lay Manslaughter charge against youth

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read