Police investigate the scene where a car crashed into a roadblock in Edmonton on September 30, 2017. Public Safety Canada warns that extremists are increasingly carrying out simple but deadly attacks using knives and vehicles. In its annual public report on the terrorist threat to Canada, the department notes such unsophisticated but "high-impact" assaults took place recently in Edmonton, where five people were injured, and in New York, killing eight people and injuring several more. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

‘Wanted to kill people:’ Crown says man stabbed Edmonton officer, drove into strangers

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges

A Crown prosecutor says a man accused of stabbing a police officer and striking four pedestrians with a cube van two years ago wanted to kill them.

Elizabeth Wheaton delivered an opening statement Wednesday to a Court of Queen’s Bench jury at the start of a trial in Edmonton for Abdulahi Hasan Sharif.

Sharif, 32, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, which include five courts of attempted murder. He is also charged with aggravated assault against the police officer and dangerous driving.

Sharif, who now has dreadlocks, sat in the prisoner’s box wearing an orange jumpsuit.

“Once you have heard the evidence, it’s the Crown position that you will be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Abdulahi Sharif wanted to kill people,” Wheaton told the jury.

“He tried first to murder Const. (Mike) Chernyk and then, during an extremely dangerous driving pattern, he fled from police causing bodily harm to four strangers. It is the Crown’s position that he intentionally tried to kill these people by hitting them.”

Chernyk was on duty outside a Canadian Football League game when he was struck by a vehicle around 8 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2017.

“He noticed headlights coming toward him,” said Wheaton. “He heard the sound of a vehicle accelerating. He tried to move out of the way, but it was too late. The vehicle plowed into him.”

A number of bystanders came to his aid.

ALSO READ: Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

“Suddenly the driver of that vehicle was there — a black male in dark clothing with a knife,” said Wheaton. “He was trying to stab Const. Chernyk in the head with that knife. The bystanders saw the knife and they fled, fearing for their lives.”

The officer was left alone and fought for his life, she said. With the man on top of him, Chernyk knew he was being stabbed and tried to grab the attacker’s hand.

“But suddenly he could feel the attacker’s other hand trying to get to his gun in his holster.

“With one hand still holding off the attack with the knife, he used his other hand and he pushed as hard as he could on that (gun) to keep it safe,” she said. “Eventually he was able to roll over and get the other hand.

“His attacker lost the knife and the two got up. Const. Chernyk’s attacker then fled into the night.”

Wheaton said evidence will show that Sharif was the registered owner of the white Chevrolet Malibu than ran into Chernyk.

A large number of Edmonton police and RCMP were deployed to find Sharif, said Wheaton. About 11:30 p.m., an RCMP officer at a checkpoint pulled over a U-Haul van. As the officer went to check the driver’s identification, the van sped off.

“That was the beginning of a dangerous flight from the police that would eventually result in collisions with at least four pedestrians,” she said. “These were unsuspecting strangers who were just trying to have a fun night out on the town.”

Wheaton said the van hit speeds of 85 km/h through narrow downtown streets, hitting several vehicles and barely missing others, before it was intentionally stopped when a police truck rammed into it and pushed the van on its side.

“(Officers) smashed through the windshield, they pulled him out and they handcuffed him. It was over.”

The Crown, she said, will show video from both scenes and call about 40 witnesses.

Sharif is not represented by a lawyer, but attorney Greg Lazin has been appointed to help him and the court by clarifying information or raising potential legal issues.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

What you need to know to vote in Canada’s federal election

Voting guide for Terrace, Kitimat up to Telegraph Creek

B.C. seniors advocate touring Northwest B.C.

Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie will be visiting Terrace, Kitimat and New Aiyansh Oct.15-17

Industrial development prompts call for highway improvements

Truck traffic to increase at Kitsumkalum project

Countdown begins for 11th annual Guns and Hoses game

Firefighters and police sharpen their skates to fundraise for youth program

VIDEO: Trudeau plays defence in Maritimes today while Scheer fights for seats in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Advance voter turnout up 25% for first two days: Elections Canada

Two million people voted Friday and Saturday

Okanagan principals told to confiscate vaping products from students

Vaping is up 74 per cent in youth over the last two years, according to one Canadian study

‘Rather mild’ winter expected in B.C. this year

Northwestern B.C. will be the worst hit

Court action in Trail acid spills may take years

B.C. court case involves a number of defendants and a number of plaintiffs

In the news: Sprinting to the election finish line and anger amid Manitoba storms

First Nations residents forced to evacuate their Manitoba homes after a recent snowstorm

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Most Read