Following two incidents in Edmonton that police are investigating as acts of terrorism, residents have turned to social media to stand together.
#yegstrong quickly became a popular hashtag on Twitter Sunday,with people expressing messages of hope and resilience in the wake of this weekend’s attacks that injured five people, including one police officer.
The attacks began Saturday night when an Edmonton police officer was struck while working a traffic barricade outside the Edmonton Eskimos game at Commonwealth Stadium. The officer was struck by a Chevrolet Malibu and sent flying through the air. Police said the suspect then came out of the car and began stabbing the officer, before fleeing on foot.
A suspect was stopped just before midnight in a U-Haul cube van at a checkstop on Wayne Gretzky Drive and 112 Avenue. Police said an officer there recognized the name as similar to the registered vehicle owner of the Malibu. The suspect fled and a high-speed chase ensued down Jasper Avenue. Police said the driver appeared to be swerving and attempting to hit pedestrians as he fled. Outside of a bar near Jasper Avenue and 109 Street, police said the suspect drove the truck through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring four.
READ MORE: Edmonton terror attacks: What we know so far
The chase ended when the truck flipped outside the Matrix Hotel near 106 Street and 100 Avenue.
At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Edmonton Police Service Chief Rod Knecht confirmed the officer injured was Const. Mike Chernyk. Knecht said the officer was in “a fight for his life” during the attack but is now doing well despite having stab wounds on his face and “significant” abrasions from being struck by the vehicle. Chernyk was released from hospital Saturday night.
On Twitter, many residents expressed their gratitude for the police responding to the incident.
Knecht didn’t identify the suspect Sunday afternoon, but multiple sources have told Global News he is Adbulahi Sharif, 30, of Edmonton, a Somalian national who is in the refugee claimant process.
Charges haven’t been laid, but Knecht said the suspect was arrested for participation in a terrorist act, 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.
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