Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the stabbing of a police officer and a vehicle assault that injured four pedestrians on Saturday evening near Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium during a CFL game.
“The Government of Canada and Canadians stand with the people of Edmonton after the terrorist attack… While the investigation continues, early reports indicate that this is another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against,” said Trudeau in a statement.
“We cannot – and will not – let violent extremism take root in our communities. We know that Canada’s strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us or promote fear. Edmonton is a strong and resilient city, and I am confident that its citizens will support one another to overcome this tragic event.”
Edmonton Police and the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team is investigating the incident as an Act of Terrorism.
It began outside Commonwealth Stadium
The incident began at approximately 8:15 pm when a uniformed police officer was working traffic control duties during a CFL football game between the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
According to a release, the officer was standing behind a traffic barricade in front of his police vehicle at the intersection near 107A Avenue and 92 Street just outside Commonwealth Stadium.
Without any warning, at a high rate of speed, the male driving a white Chevrolet Malibu crashed through the traffic barricades that were separating vehicles from pedestrians.
The car rammed into the police vehicle and officer, who went flying 15 feet through the air as a result of the collision.
After colliding with the police vehicle once more, the suspect jumped out of his vehicle and began viciously stabbing the officer with a knife. He then fled the scene on foot before other officers could arrive, and the officer who was attacked was rushed to hospital with various injuries.
U-Haul truck used to run over pedestrians
The incident progressed later in the night at approximately midnight when a U-Haul truck was pulled over at a police check stop on Wayne Gretzky Drive and 112 Avenue. A police officer asked to see the license of the driver and recognized the name being similar as the registered owner of the Chevy Malibu in the stadium incident earlier in the evening.
In response, the U-Haul truck immediately fled the check stop and was pursued by police towards downtown Edmonton. As the truck driver fled, he deliberately attempted to strike pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys.
At least four pedestrians were struck by the truck, and they were transported to hospital with multiple injuries.
The chase ended after the truck flipped over on Jasper Avenue. A 30-year-old man was apprehended and is currently in police custody.
Police believe the suspected acted alone
Investigators believe the incidents near the stadium and the truck assault may be connected. Police say based on the evidence at the scene and the actions of the suspect, there is reason to investigate the incidents as a terrorist attack.
“Currently, we believe this is an individual who acted alone, although the investigation is in its early stages,” said Edmonton Police Chief 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.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is expected to make a statement on the incident later this morning.