‘It’s weird that this is so close to home’: Edmontonians react after late night attack

The U-Haul truck used by the alleged terrorist being towed away by EPS. (Photo by Omar Mosleh)

People staying at the Matrix Hotel were shocked to wake up to a heavy police presence and a flipped U-Haul truck after what police are calling an act of terrorism.

According to police, an Edmonton officer was stabbed near Commonwealth Stadium and a high-speed police chase occurred with the driver of a U-haul truck deliberately hitting pedestrians in crosswalks, near Jasper Avenue at 107 and 109 Street.

Todd Dwight was at the Matrix Hotel, visiting from Hawaii, when he heard a loud “boom” sometime after midnight.

“I heard what sounded like a loud explosion. I looked out the window and every street was just cops,” Dwight said.

“That noise caught your attention. It wasn’t like a car crash. It was just a boom.”

He added that it was “non stop” sirens for a good portion of the night.

“It’s surreal, considering we were walking where he was mowing down people,” said Matt Shearer, also visiting from Hawaii.

Azim Kanji and his girlfriend Chelsea Lawrie were celebrating Lawrie’s birthday when he heard a loud noise from the twelfth floor.

“We just saw a ridiculous amount of cops. As soon as it gets to more than five, you assume something’s going on,” he said.

He said he was surprised to read about how serious the incident was.

“You don’t wake up in the morning thinking this would happen in Edmonton. We’ve all heard those threats online about West Edmonton Mall … It’s weird that this is so close to home,” he said.

Lawrie said police were working to contain people inside the hotel and she felt reassured by the heavy police presence.

“The police were here right away and they were doing their job and doing it well. They were doing what they needed to do for everyone to feel safe,” she said.

As of Sunday morning, a heavy police presence remained near 107 Street and Jasper Avenue and closed off a portion of 107 Street.

This story was originally published in Metro Edmonton.

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