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