Emergency radio transmissions offer chilling glimpse into Edmonton attacks, police pursuit
'Civilians are hit, 107 and Jasper. Guys, we need to take that vehicle, right now'
During a high-stakes police chase through Edmonton streets on Saturday night, a man driving a U-Haul truck swerved across lanes into oncoming traffic and blew through several red lights.
With police vehicles close behind, the U-Haul was driven from Wayne Gretzky Drive to Jasper Avenue, and as the chase approached busy downtown streets thronged with bar patrons and football fans, officers in pursuit searched for ways to stop the truck.
The police radio transmissions from that night, when five people were wounded, were posted on liveleak.com. They provide fresh insights into a precarious series of events that unfolded quickly.
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The chase began after the U-Haul was pulled over at a police check stop. Moments later, the truck sped south down Wayne Gretzky Drive.
"We've got the suspect that came up earlier from the vehicle," one officer told headquarters, an apparent reference to an incident earlier that evening, when a car ran over a constable posted behind a police barricade near Commonwealth Stadium.
"OK, 10-4. Can you confirm in custody?"
"We're in a crim[inal] flight," the officer responded. "We are westbound, 106th Avenue."
Soon several police cars and a tactical unit were in pursuit. Police followed the truck as it headed toward downtown.
'Pedestrians hit! Pedestrians hit!'
On Jasper Avenue, as the U-Haul passed Alex Taylor Road, speeds reached 90 km/h, one officer reported on the radio.
The truck slowed to 60 km/h as it drove through the first of several red lights.
"Tactical, be advised, this is a peak pedestrian [inaudible] there in that location, and if you can come up with a containment respond there, please advise."
The response came back: "At this point in time, we'd just like to get him off Jasper Avenue."
By then, the Air 1 police helicopter was on the way.
As the chase moved west along Jasper Avenue, an officer asked if they had permission to use spike belts to try to stop the truck.
Several blocks later, the U-Haul turned north onto 109th Street.
Then came the next transmission: "Pedestrians hit. Pedestrians hit."
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'Take that vehicle, right now!'
The tactical unit was instructed to make "direct vehicle contact" to end the chase as quickly as possible.
The truck turned back east and went down an alley, then crossed Jasper Avenue.
"Control, we just had a civilian hit, 107 and Jasper. We need some cars to stop there, right now. Civilians are hit, 107 and Jasper. Guys, we need to take that vehicle, right now."
The command officer issued an urgent order.
"Use all means necessary to stop that vehicle and end this crim [criminal] flight."
Police were already calling for ambulances.
Within seconds, control was advised the U-Haul had been tipped on its side on the road, and that tactical officers were closing in on the suspect.
The next transmission said: "Advising, one in custody."
From that moment, police turned much of their attention to getting help for injured people lying in the streets.
Officer struck, stabbed
Saturday's alarming series of events began at about 8:15 p.m. local time near Commonwealth Stadium, where an officer was working traffic control for a CFL game.
An officer standing behind a barricade was struck by a Chevrolet Malibu, which sent him flying 4.5 metres into the air.
A man jumped out of the car and stabbed the officer with a knife, then ran off down 92nd Street.
The officer was taken to hospital, but has since been released.
At around 10 p.m. Saturday, police told a news conference that a manhunt was underway but there was no threat to the public.
Just before midnight, a U-Haul cube van was pulled over at a checkstop. When an officer checked the driver's name, he thought it sounded similar to the name of the registered owner of the Malibu that had struck the officer hours before.
The U-Haul sped off and the chase began.
By the time it ended, four pedestrians had been mowed down.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, four counts of criminal flight causing bodily harm, and one count each of dangerous driving and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.