At least 5 people have been injured after two apparent acts of terrorism in the Canadian city of Edmonton, local police say. The suspect – who was taken into custody after a police pursuit – was in possession of an ISIS flag.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said the first incident happened at about 8:15 p.m. local time on Saturday when a police officer was manning a traffic checkpoint at an intersection near the Commonwealth Stadium, where a football game was underway.
“Suddenly and without notice, and at a high rate of speed, a male driving a white Chevrolet Malibu crashed through the traffic barricades that were separating vehicles from pedestrians,” Knecht said. “The vehicle struck the police officer, sending him flying into the air 15 feet (4.5 meter), before colliding with the officer’s cruiser.”
The suspect, whose identity was not immediately released but who was said to be 30 years old, then jumped out of the vehicle and “viciously” attacked the officer with a knife. The police officer was stabbed several times before the suspect fled the scene.
Hours later, as a manhunt was underway for the vehicle’s owner, a U-Haul truck was stopped just before midnight at a police checkpoint near downtown Edmonton. When the driver realized that he had been recognized, he immediately took off in the truck.
“The U-Haul truck immediately fled the scene and was pursued by police officers towards downtown Edmonton,” Knecht explained. “Throughout the chase, the truck deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys in 2 areas along Jasper Avenue.”
The pursuit ended when the U-Haul truck overturned due to police action, after which the suspect was taken into custody.
Chief Knecht said at least four people were injured during the police pursuit, though there was no immediate word on their conditions. The police officer who was stabbed and struck during the first attack was being treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
“Based on evidence at the scenes, and the actions of the suspect, at 12:38 a.m. today, it was determined that these incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism,” Knecht said. He confirmed that a flag of the Islamic State group (ISIS) was found on the front seat of the Chevrolet Malibu.
Knecht said the suspect is believed to have acted alone, though he called on the public to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings as the investigation was still in an early stage. “Contact police if you see anything suspicious, or hear anything suspicious or concerning,” the chief said.
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