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

Sand sculptor creates special eagle head in Qualicum Beach

Kaube fashions work behind Civic Centre

Qualicum Beach seniors hiking group tackles alpine trails

Annual trip involves taking helicopter to remote locations

Parksville asks for help identifying veterans for special banner project

Program to honour veterans whose names are listed on Parksville cenotaph

VIDEO: Disabled Vancouver Island feline teaching foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Most Read