Edmonton police stabbing, truck rampage being investigated as acts of terrorism
NOTE: This story has since been updated in a new post. You can find the latest information here: Edmonton terror attacks: Police officer stabbed, people struck by U-Haul
A Edmonton police officer was stabbed Saturday evening near Commonwealth Stadium and four pedestrians injured by a fleeing truck in what police are investigating as an act of terrorism.
Scene 1: 93 Street and 107A Avenue
The first attack happened when an Edmonton Police Service special duty member was stabbed by a man who had crashed a car into a police barricade outside the stadium, where the Edmonton Eskimos were hosting Winnipeg on Canadian Forces Appreciation Night.
Police chief Rod Knecht confirmed in a 3 a.m. news conference that there was an ISIS flag in the car. Below is a photo of what the flag looks like.
Police said the officer was manning a traffic checkpoint near 93 Street and 107A Avenue when it happened at around 8:15 p.m.
Police said the suspect fled on foot after ramming a police vehicle and was still at large. A white Chevrolet Malibu could be seen smashed into the front of an Edmonton Police Service SUV.
“The officer was approached by an unknown male suspect in a vehicle at which time the suspect rammed the police cruiser,” said Edmonton Police Service spokesman Scott Pattison.
“The suspect then got out of the vehicle and approached the officer and an altercation ensued.”
“I want to be clear. We don’t believe there’s any risk to public safety right now. This is a lone individual.”
Reporter Laurel Gregory was just wrapping up a live report at the end of Global Edmonton’s News at 11 when a police officer shouted out a warning: “Get behind a tree. Or a car. This is for your own protection!”
Following the stabbing of the police officer, a suspect fled on foot, prompting a massive manhunt. Approximately two hours later — around 11:30 p.m. — a U-Haul van was seen speeding through downtown streets with up to a dozen police vehicles in pursuit.
Scene 2: 109 Street north of Jasper Avenue
The alley next to The Pint, a bar on 109th Street just north of Jasper Avenue, was blocked off by police and yellow crime-scene tape. As many as 10 cruisers crowded the area.
A manager at The Pint said the U-Haul came speeding down 109th Street and careened east into the alley next to the bar, hitting two people. It happened so fast, no one even screamed.
One man was just clipped by the van, said the manager — who didn’t want to give his name — but he was told a second man was hit harder.
The first man was sitting up within about five minutes. A bartender who is also a nurse came out to look after one of the men.
There were a lot of people in the alley so it was fortunate only two were hit, the manager said. The bar’s security cameras didn’t pick up anything, he added.
But inside The Pint, and Hudsons next door, it was business as usual. Many patrons appeared unaware that anything out of the ordinary had happened.
Kirby Joint works at Rocky Mountain Ice House, a bar just around the corner from The Pint.
“I saw probably about 14 police cars travelling at a high rate of speed, back to back, and they were blocking off intersections… They had lights and sirens on.”
Joint said he and his colleagues weren’t sure what was going on, but there was an off-duty police officer in the bar who was getting some information about a serious incident. “So, we cleared the patio and got everybody off the street.”
WATCH: A chaotic scene in Edmonton, where a police officer was stabbed earlier in the evening before pedestrians were struck in the downtown core. Global News broke into programming with this 1:30 a.m. update with Kim Smith and Laurel Gregory.
Scene 3: 106 Street and 100 Avenue
At 107 Street and Jasper Avenue, someone was seen being loaded into an ambulance.
The U-Haul ended up on its side on 100 Avenue, near 107 Street.
The incidents bore striking similarities to recent terror attacks in Europe, and Edmonton Police said they are being investigated as terrorism.
What happened earlier
At the original stabbing scene, the EPS Air One helicopter and numerous police vehicles were seen leaving the scene near Commonwealth Stadium abruptly at approximately 9:45 p.m. Before that, about ten police vehicles could be seen in the area.
Drivers and pedestrians were being asked to avoid the scene. Police said people at the football game who parked in the area may not be able to access their vehicles due to the investigation.
A source said the injured police officer was a 10 or so year member of the force, who was conscious when taken to hospital. A police spokesperson said he is doing OK.
Edmonton Transit tweeted at 10:44 p.m. that service from Commonwealth Stadium was operating as usual following the Eskimos game.
The Edmonton Eskimos were playing at home Saturday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It was military appreciation night, with 30,524 people in attendance.
Mayor Don Iveson tweeted, “Thankful for our first responders this evening & wishing a speedy recovery to this @edmontonpolice Officer.”
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton Police Service special duty member was stabbed and a police cruiser rammed Saturday evening near Commonwealth Stadium. Laurel Gregory reports live with the latest.
— With files from Kim Smith, Global News
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