RT / A police officer was stabbed Saturday evening near the Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton, Canada. The attacker fled the scene on foot, triggering a huge manhunt and high speed chase. Police have confirmed they are treating it as an act of terrorism. “At 12:38 it was determined that these incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism,” Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht told reporters at a 3am press conference while confirming that an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) flag was discovered in the suspect’s vehicle.
“We currently believe this individual acted alone. We are urging Edmontonians to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings,” Knecht said, adding that the suspect, a 30-year-old Edmonton man, was known to police.
#BREAKING Choas in Edmonton right now. Several ambulances. Reports of vehicle hitting pedestrians. @ctvedmonton #yeg #yegdt pic.twitter.com/q10iXUQTh6
— Sean Amato (@JSJamato) October 1, 2017 The attacker crashed his Chevrolet Malibu SUV into a police barricade outside the stadium reports Global News . An officer of the Edmonton Police Service was thrown 15 feet into the area when the vehicle crashed into the traffic control barricade, according to CBC , and reportedly the driver then stabbed the same officer.
READ MORE: Canadian airport employees showed signs of radicalization, visited ISIS websites – report
“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, as cited by Global News. “The suspect then got out of the vehicle and approached the officer and an altercation ensued.”
#BREAKING The vehicle that crashed into a police roadblock in #yeg has what appears to be an ISIS flag in the front seat. @ctvedmonton pic.twitter.com/zTP6dcwAAj
— Sean Amato (@JSJamato) October 1, 2017 Almost two hours later, at approximately 11:30pm local time, a white U-Haul van was stopped at a police checkpoint while the manhunt was still underway. The officer recognized the name on the driver’s ID as matching that of the owner of the SUV used in the attack.
The suspect then drove off at speed and rammed through the police checkpoint, triggering a high-speed chase through the downtown area, packed with Saturday night crowds.
“That high-speed chase should have never, ever in a million years have happened downtown,” said eyewitness Brian McNeill as cited by CBC.
Male suspect arrested in connection with vicious knife attack on EPS officer and subsequent vehicle-pedestrian… https://t.co/3HUcztQHcK
— Edmonton Police (@edmontonpolice) October 1, 2017 The van eventually flipped onto its side after colliding with four people in the course of the pursuit. The suspect was arrested immediately and remains in custody.
“They [police] were pulling him out of the windshield, then handcuffed him,” eyewitness Pat Hannigan told The Edmonton Journal .
When asked why the decision was made to continue the chase through heavily populated areas, Chief Knecht said: “Due to the seriousness of the offense, or the believed offense, is why the chase was not called off.”