EDMONTON - A woman and her boyfriend who were walking their dogs near an Edmonton football stadium say they heard a car rev its engine before it rammed into a barricade and a police officer.
Jessica Nikish and Jacob Prince testified Friday at the jury trial for Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, who has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including five counts of attempted murder, in relation to the September 2017 attack.
It's alleged that after attacking the officer, Sharif drove a speeding U-Haul van through Edmonton's downtown, striking four pedestrians.
Nikish said she and Prince were walking several dogs across an intersection on their regular route.
“We heard a vehicle rev,” she told the jury, noting it sounded like a “vroom” when asked to describe it further.
“The vehicle came and hit that barricade and the police officer flew 10 feet in the air.”
She said she ran over to the officer, who has been identified as Const. Mike Chernyk.
Nikish said she thought her boyfriend went to check on the driver, but Prince later testified Friday that he also ran over to the officer.
She said she saw Chernyk on his walkie-talkie, saying “officer down.”
When she approached, Nikish said she told the officer she was calling 911 and asked him what he needed.
She said she then heard Prince yell: “He has a knife. Run, run, run.”
She ran and, when she turned around, she said she saw the man stab the officer.
“I ran behind a truck and watched this attack happen,” said Nikish. “We saw the guy wrestling with the officer, stabbing him.”
Chernyk testified Thursday that he was on traffic duty outside an Edmonton Eskimos football game when he was struck by the car. He next remembered a man on top of him, stabbing him in the head with a knife.
Nikish said she saw the man, but she couldn't describe him. “All I knew is he had on a black coat and a white shirt.”
Prince testified that he saw the knife and the man using it.
“He was calm, but he looked driven,” he told the jury. “He had a white shirt, black leather jacket, blue jeans.”
Prince added that the man had a “small Afro” and brown skin.
They both said the man ran off down a nearby street.
Sharif, who is not represented by a lawyer, has so far declined to ask any questions of the witnesses.
The trial is expected to last until early November.