En­crypted de­vice was used in truck at­tack

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were un­able to de­code it, Knecht tells pa­per

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION -

Ed­mon­ton’s for­mer po­lice chief says a man charged in a truck at­tack in the city last year had an en­crypted de­vice po­lice couldn’t crack.

Rod Knecht was at an in­ter­na­tional counter-ter­ror­ism gath­er­ing in Mel­bourne and told Aus­tralian news­pa­per the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald that en­cryp­tion laws should be changed to al­low po­lice to hold ter­ror­ists to ac­count.

Knecht re­ferred to the at­tack in Septem­ber 2017 in which an Ed­mon­ton po­lice of­fi­cer was hit with a car and stabbed with a knife out­side a foot­ball game.

Later that night, a speed­ing cube van hit and in­jured four pedes­tri­ans as it raced through the city’s down­town with po­lice in pur­suit.

Ab­du­lahi Hasan Sharif is sched­uled to go to trial next year on at­tempted mur­der and dan­ger­ous driv­ing charges.

If we could have ac­cessed that de­vice it would have pushed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for­ward.

Po­lice said at the time that an Is­lamic State flag was found in the car used in the at­tack, but no ter­ror­ism charges have been laid against Sharif.

Knecht told the news­pa­per Sharif had a de­vice po­lice couldn’t get into.

“If we could have ac­cessed that de­vice it would have pushed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for­ward. It would have demon­strated who else was in­volved, be­cause in sit­u­a­tions where it looks like there was only one per­son in­volved, of­ten­times there was some­one else who helped along the jour­ney,” Knecht is quoted as say­ing.

“A lot of times, these peo­ple aren’t held to ac­count for killing peo­ple.”

The news­pa­per did not spec­ify what the de­vice was.

Const. Mike Ch­ernyk was in­jured when a driver crashed through a bar­rier, got out of his ve­hi­cle, pulled out a large knife and be­gan stab­bing him the evening of Sept. 30, 2017. The driver got away.

Po­lice set up check­points and be­gan stop­ping cars. That led to a sec­ond en­counter with the at­tacker, who was driv­ing a U-haul cube van.

Knecht said when the U-haul pulled over for the check­point, the driver was con­fronted af­ter he pro­duced iden­ti­fi­ca­tion link­ing him to the reg­is­tered owner of the car in­volved in the at­tack on Ch­ernyk.

The van then sped off to­ward down­town with mul­ti­ple po­lice cars in pur­suit.

It veered into al­leys and cross streets through the down­town amid late-night bar and night­club go­ers. Knecht said the truck de­lib­er­ately hit four pedes­tri­ans.

“He just started run­ning down peo­ple,” Knecht told the news­pa­per.

Sharif has been found fit to stand trial on 12 charges. A date has been set for Oc­to­ber 2019. He has not yet en­tered a plea.

Ab­du­lahi Hasan Sharif

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