Canadian police have arrested a Somali man who struck a police officer with a car outside a sports stadium in Edmonton and then repeatedly stabbed the officer before fleeing the scene. The same man later struck four pedestrians with a moving van during a high-speed chase late Saturday.
All five victims remain hospitalized with undisclosed injuries. Neither the victims nor the suspect has been publicly identified.
But Marlin Degrand, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said the suspect was a Somali national seeking refugee status in Canada. The suspect was known to both Edmonton police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Degrand said he was flagged in 2015 for extremist ideologies, and police interviewed him at the time, but he said charges were not warranted after an “exhaustive investigation.”
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said the suspect had an Islamic State flag in the car that struck the officer. But officials say it appears he acted alone.
“To the best of our knowledge, this was a lone wolf attack,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said.
Knecht said Edmonton police were working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s National Security Enforcement Team and other Canadian security agencies. He advised the public to remain vigilant and observant of their surroundings.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that Canadians “stand with the people of Edmonton after the terrorist attack on Saturday that sent an Edmonton Police Service officer to hospital and injured a number of innocent people who were out to cheer on their football team and to enjoy an evening in their city.”
“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,” Trudeau said.
The White House, in a statement released Sunday, condemned the “cowardly terror attacks on a police officer and pedestrians” in Edmonton.