‘re­ally bad’

Ab­du­lahi Sharif opened up to un­der­cover cop in hold­ing cell about U-haul at­tack

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - JONNY WAKEFIELD @jon­ny­wake­field jwake­[email protected]

He en­tered the cell wear­ing blue pants and a grey sweat­shirt. He sat on the floor and of­fered the un­der­cover of­fi­cer a bite of his break­fast sand­wich.

Over the next hour and a half, Ab­du­lahi Hasan Sharif al­legedly opened up to the un­der­cover RCMP of­fi­cer, who was pos­ing as a drug traf­ficker with deep knowl­edge of the prison sys­tem.

“Mr. Sharif ad­vised that he did some­thing re­ally bad,” the of­fi­cer told Sharif’s jury trial Mon­day. “Mr. Sharif ad­vised that last night was like a dream. Mr. Sharif stated that he wanted to kill him­self last night.”

Sharif, 32, is charged with 11 of­fences in­clud­ing five counts of at­tempted mur­der. He has pleaded not guilty.

Sharif is ac­cused of strik­ing Const. Mike Ch­ernyk with a car and at­tack­ing him with a knife on Sept. 30, 2017, be­fore lead­ing po­lice on a pur­suit through down­town Ed­mon­ton dur­ing which four pedes­tri­ans were struck by a speed­ing U-haul truck.

The next morn­ing, Sharif was jailed in the Ed­mon­ton Po­lice Ser­vice’s down­town di­vi­sion. The un­der­cover of­fi­cer was placed in the cells be­fore him.

Sharif en­gaged the of­fi­cer in con­ver­sa­tion, ask­ing about con­di­tions in jail and ex­plain­ing his past few weeks.

Sharif said he has been in Canada six years but that his work per­mit had ex­pired. Sharif told the un­der­cover of­fi­cer he couldn’t find work and “did not have fam­ily or friends in Canada.” He was work­ing odd jobs for cash and send­ing money home to fam­ily in So­ma­lia. The un­der­cover of­fi­cer said Sharif also told him he didn’t want to be de­ported back to So­ma­lia.

The ac­cused be­gan ask­ing the un­der­cover of­fi­cer about jail, and whether he would be re­leased. The un­der­cover of­fi­cer replied that it de­pended on what he had done.

Sharif ex­plained he was driv­ing his car near Com­mon­wealth Sta­dium on a game night. He did not have in­sur­ance on his car and was wor­ried. He saw a po­lice of­fi­cer di­rect­ing traf­fic.

“Mr. Sharif stated the po­lice of­fi­cer flashed his light at him and Mr. Sharif thought the cop was go­ing to pull him over,” said the un­der­cover of­fi­cer, whose iden­tity is shielded by a pub­li­ca­tion ban. Sharif al­legedly said “he got scared so he hit the cop with his car.”

The ac­cused also said he “tried to take off but his car wasn’t work­ing” be­cause he’d hit a po­lice ve­hi­cle.

Sharif al­legedly told the un­der­cover of­fi­cer he ran off and hid for about two hours. When the po­lice were gone “he left his hid­ing spot and went to a U-haul truck he had keys for,” the un­der­cover tes­ti­fied.

Sharif said he wanted to get to the north side of the city but was stopped by a po­lice of­fi­cer at a check point. The of­fi­cer took his ID, and started walk­ing back to the car, at which point Sharif said he took off.

He told the of­fi­cer he was run­ning red lights with 10-15 po­lice cars on his tail.

“Mr. Sharif stated that at one point down­town, he hit three to five peo­ple with the U-haul truck while he was try­ing to get away,” the of­fi­cer con­tin­ued.

“Mr. Sharif stated the U-haul truck was heavy on the top and one of the cop cars hit the back cor­ner of the truck and it flipped on its side.”

Po­lice of­fi­cers swarmed the ve­hi­cle and smashed the wind­shield.

“Mr. Sharif ad­vised he thought the cops were go­ing to kill him,” the un­der­cover said.

At one point, the un­der­cover of­fi­cer di­rected Sharif back to what hap­pened when he al­legedly hit the po­lice of­fi­cer.

The of­fi­cer stated “how much he hated cops.” Sharif al­legedly smiled, nod­ded, and of­fered the of­fi­cer a “fist pump.”

“The in­di­vid­ual we’ve been dis­cussing … is he present in court to­day?” Crown pros­e­cu­tor Shelley Bykewich asked.

“He is,” the un­der­cover of­fi­cer said, look­ing to­ward the pris­oner’s box. “Sit­ting right over there.”

Sharif is self-rep­re­sented and has de­clined to cross-ex­am­ine any of the wit­nesses. He is be­ing as­sisted in court by am­i­cus lawyer Greg Levin.

Ear­lier Mon­day, a woman tes­ti­fied to rent­ing a U-haul to the ac­cused, say­ing he orig­i­nally wanted a larger truck.

An em­ployee at a Le­duc U-haul rental of­fice, Ta­mara Gor­man, de­scribed Sept. 30, 2017, as a busy day. Nor­mally, she closes at noon on Satur­days but stayed open to ac­com­mo­date the end-of-the­month rush.

“He stated to me that he had a rental booked in Ed­mon­ton but that rental did not come back, so the lo­ca­tion sent him to Le­duc,” Gor­man tes­ti­fied.

“He then pro­ceeded to ask what I had avail­able. Orig­i­nally he wanted a 20-foot or a 26-foot U-haul. I ex­plained to him the only one I had left was a 15-foot. That’s the one he agreed he would take.”

A driver for Co-op Taxi also tes­ti­fied he drove a man from Kingsway Mall to the Le­duc busi­ness early that af­ter­noon. He dropped the pas­sen­ger around 2 p.m., he said, adding he paid his roughly $60 fare in cash.

Gor­man said she found the man to whom she rented the 15-footer “dis­tracted. He would not look me in the eye, and kept look­ing around in every di­rec­tion.”

She said he had a valid driver’s li­cence and paid for the $198.40 rental in cash. The time­stamp on the rental is 12:47 p.m.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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