(TORONTO) — A car and knife attack on a police officer outside a football game and a high-speed chase of a moving van that left four people injured was the work of a Somali refugee who was likely working alone and was known to police for extremist ideology, Canadian authorities said Sunday.
Marlin Degrand, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said officers took a 30-year-old man into custody in the Western Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta.
Police declined to identify the man because he had not yet been charged, saying the pending charges included terrorism and five counts of attempted murder.
A Canadian government official identified the suspect as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif. The official agreed to reveal the name only if not quoted by name because he was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the police announcement.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said an Islamic State group flag was found in the car that hit the officer, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a terror attack.
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.”
Degrand said the suspect is a refugee from Somalia who had applied for refugee status.
“To the best of our knowledge, this was a lone wolf attack,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said.
The incident took place outside a Canadian Football League game at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night.
Police released graphic video showing a white Chevrolet Malibu ramming into a police officer standing in front of his cruiser. The officer flies into the air and the Malibu then crashes into the police car.
The driver gets out and appears to stab the officer, who wrestles the suspect to the ground and then rises as the suspect flees on foot.
“Seeing the video is very upsetting because of the level of violence and level of intent,” Iveson said.
The Edmonton police chief said Constable Mike Chernyk, a 48-year-old who has been an officer 11 years, was released from the hospital overnight with stab wounds on face and head and abrasions on his arms.
“He was in a struggle for his life, holding on to his gun with one hand and blocking the knife with the other,” Knecht said.
A few hours later, a U-Haul van was stopped at an impaired driving checkpoint north of downtown, on Wayne…