Somalia: Somali refugee suspected of Edmonton terror attacks kept low profile, community leaders say

Soldiers from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) patrol inside the Garissa University College compound that was the scene of last week's attack by al-Shabab gunmen, in Garissa, Kenya, Monday, April 6, 2015. Kenya launched air strikes against al-Shabab Islamic militants in Somalia on Sunday afternoon and early Monday morning, following the extremist attack on a Kenyan college that killed 148 people, a military spokesman said. (AP Photo)

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somali refugee said to have committed suspected terrorist attacks in Edmonton late Saturday, kept a low profile in the city’s Somali community.

CBC News conducted numerous interviews with members of Edmonton’s Somali and broader Muslim communities but no one appeared to know Sharif.

The 30-year-old’s name triggered no recognition but the acts he is suspected of perpetrating were unanimously condemned.

“This individual has no place in our community,” Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali wrote in a statement Sunday on behalf of the Edmonton Somali community.

“We are your neighbours, co-workers and police officers and we stand strongly beside you in condemning this violence and mourning its effect on the community.”

Terrorism charges are pending against the suspect, who is in custody. Police haven’t identified Sharif by name but multiple sources have identified him to CBC News.

Around 8:15 p.m. Saturday near Commonwealth Stadium, an Edmonton police officer was struck by a Chevrolet Malibu while working crowd control for a CFL game.

Const. Mike Chernyk, standing behind a barricade when he was hit, was sent flying into the air. A man got out of the Malibu and attacked Chernyk with a knife before fleeing on foot.

More than three hours later, a white U-Haul van was pulled over at a checkstop on the city’s north side. A police officer recognized the driver’s name as similar to the name of the registered owner of the car that had struck the officer earlier.

The U-Haul then sped off toward downtown Edmonton, where streets were filled with Saturday night bar crowds and football fans. Pursued by police, the van struck and injured four pedestrians.

The van tipped over on its side and a suspect was arrested at the scene.\