SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:
RCMP K Division Assistant Commissioner Marlin Degrand told a news conference at Edmonton RCMP headquarters on Sunday afternoon that the suspect, a Somali refugee, was known to both RCMP and police, the CBC reported. The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) launched an investigation into a complaint in 2015 that he was displaying signs of extremism, but there was insufficient evidence to arrest him.
The suspect has yet to be charged but is under arrest for offences including participation in a terrorist attack, commission of an offence for a terrorist group, five counts of attempted murder, dangerous driving, criminal flight causing bodily harm, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
THE Edmonton Police Service announced on Sunday morning that they have arrested a 30-year-old Edmonton man in connection with a violent crime spree, which saw an EPS officer struck with a car and viciously stabbed, and four pedestrians deliberately struck with a different vehicle later Saturday evening.
The EPS and the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) are now investigating the incidents as an Act of Terrorism.
“EPS members arrested and took a male suspect we believe to be responsible for these acts of violence into custody earlier this morning,” said EPS Chief Rod Knecht. “We ask that our citizens remain vigilant and observant of their surroundings, and contact police should they notice any other unusual activities around the city.”
At approximately 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, a uniformed EPS officer was working traffic control duties during a CFL football game between the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The uniformed officer was standing behind a traffic barricade and in front of his police vehicle at an intersection near 107A Avenue and 92 Street, just southwest of Commonwealth (football) Stadium. Suddenly, and without provocation, a male driving a white Chevrolet Malibou crashed through the traffic barricades that were separating vehicles from pedestrians, at a high rate of speed.
The vehicle struck the EPS officer, sending him flying 15 feet through the air, before colliding with the officer’s cruiser, again at a high rate of speed.
A male, believed to be 30 years of age, then jumped out of his vehicle and began viciously stabbing the officer with a knife, as a struggle ensued. The suspect then fled the scene on foot, northbound down 92 Street. The officer was then transported to hospital with various injuries.
Just before midnight, a U Haul truck was pulled over at a Checkstop location on Wayne Gretzky Drive and 112 Avenue. A police officer asked to see the licence of the driver, and recognized the name as being similar to the registered owner of the Chevy Malibu involved in the incident on 107A Avenue earlier in the evening.
The U Haul truck then immediately fled the scene, and was pursued by police officers towards downtown Edmonton. During the chase, the U Haul truck deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys in two areas along Jasper Avenue, at 107 and 109 streets. Currently, it is believed four pedestrians were struck by the truck and transported to hospital with multiple injuries.
The chase concluded with the U Haul truck flipping over on Jasper Avenue. The driver was apprehended and is currently in police custody.
Investigators believe the incident near Commonwealth Stadium and subsequent attempts to injure pedestrians in downtown Edmonton may be related. Based on evidence at the scene and the actions of the male suspect, EPS, INSET and its Canadian Public Security Agencies are now investigating these incidents as acts of terrorism.
“Currently, we believe this is an individual who acted alone, although the investigation is in its early stages,” said Knecht. “We are urging all Edmontonians to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Please contact police immediately if you see or hear anything out of the ordinary or unusual.”
Anyone with information about these violent incidents are urged to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.