Crown seeks life for man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians

The Crown has recommended a life sentence for a man who struck an Edmonton police officer with a car before stabbing him multiple times outside a Canadian Football League game.

A jury also determined Abdulahi Hasan Sharif ran down four pedestrians with a U-Haul van during a subsequent police chase in the city’s downtown on Sept. 30, 2017.

Crown prosecutors told a sentencing hearing Thursday that Sharif deserves a maximum life sentence for the targeted attack on the officer, and 20 years to be served at the same time for trying to kill the pedestrians.

Sharif, 32, was convicted in October on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, criminal flight causing bodily harm and dangerous driving. He was not represented by a lawyer. 

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee, in a community impact statement, told court Thursday that the sentence needs to send a strong message.

He said officers could be heard on audio tapes calmly and rationally making decisions about how to end their pursuit of

Anguished cries

But what they heard and saw, McFee said, was one of their colleagues fly through the air after being hit by a car and attacked by a knife. Other officers saw pedestrians get hit and heard their anguished cries for help.

“This was not just another day at the office,” said McFee. “It was a stranger trying to kill people.”

Five others, including two of the pedestrians hit by Sharif, also read their victim impact statements in court.

Kim O’Hara, who suffered severe injuries, said her life changed forever that night.

“I feel like I lost two years of my life,” she said.

O’Hara said she spent 42 days in hospital and wasn’t able to communicate with anyone for weeks. She still has pain in her knee and hip, and battles with memory loss and speech issues, she said.

“I will suffer from that night for the rest of my life and nothing can change that,” added O’Hara.

Her friend, Jordan Stewardson, was also hit. She told court she still feels pain in her shoulder and knee and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘Vicious cycle’

“I truly became someone I am unfamiliar with, someone I don’t understand,” she told court.

She said she experiences frequent flashbacks and, if triggered in public, just wants to escape and be alone.

“I battle this vicious cycle internally almost every single day,” said Stewardson.

McFee said there will also be long-term consequences, including mental-health issues, for some of the officers involved.

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