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Can Spctator Seating Be Both Steep and Safe

Can Spectator Seating Be Both Steep and Safe?

by Matt Rossetti
April 2018

The Bell Centre in Montreal is known as one of the NHL’s most intimidating venues for visiting players, mainly due to a large lower bowl and steep upper-bowl seating. In fact, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland stated that from a player’s perspective, this type of design makes it seem like “everybody is on top of you.”

In addition to the home-team advantage the design provides, it also gives fans better sightlines to the action and lets them feel more engaged in the event due to such close proximity. This is an increasingly important factor, as in-person attendance for sporting events continues to decline and ownership groups seek new solutions to provide a better live experience.

But that proximity carries a potentially steep price. Fan accidents at the 19,000-seat Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., have led to at least four lawsuits resulting from fans tripping and falling in the arena’s steep upper bowl. More commonly, fans attending events at arenas with steep stairs complain of experiencing vertigo. Looking up at seemingly endless rows of seating can make fans feel as though they are falling.

These types of incidents have raised some serious and difficult questions. At a time when owners and their architects are facing mounting pressure to improve the fan experience to halt and reverse dropping attendance rates, is there a way to prioritize both the fan experience and fan safety without compromising either?

Safe space

The short answer is yes, but it requires owners and venue designers to think creatively about new and unique solutions that evolve existing design elements in exciting ways.

Take the gondola seating in Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, which opened last September. This section features a suspended steel frame that hangs from the arena roof, giving fans, broadcasters and team personnel in the gondola an unobstructed bird’s-eye view of the action.

This concept isn’t all that new, however. It actually takes cues from Maple Leaf Gardens, which opened in 1931, as well as the Chase Bridge in Madison Square Garden. Maple Leaf Gardens featured a broadcast booth perched five stories up that was said to look “like the gondola of a cruise ship.” When Little Caesars Arena was built, it incorporated this idea of a high-level vantage point, but evolved it into a separate seating structure that hangs from the roof rafters more than 90 feet above the playing surface.

As a safety measure, the gondola seating in Little Caesars Arena features clear Plexiglas barriers in the front row to keep fans secure, with waist-high drink rails performing the same function for fans in the back row.

A new era of arena design

Other innovative architects and arena design professionals are going a step further and completely rethinking the traditional arena design.

Consider that even though stairs have gotten steeper, bringing fans closer to the action, the foundational principles of arena design haven’t changed much in the thousands of years since Roman times, with seating progressively moving up and away from the playing surface.

With live entertainment competing with modern home-entertainment technologies that make the home viewing experience that much better, the in-person experience needs to give fans something they can’t get at home.

One promising new model begins by upending some of the most basic tenets of arena design. Conceived as a way to preserve and enhance arena excitement while integrating the immersive qualities of an intimate environment, the inverted bowl is a proprietary concept that has been developed and tested over the past seven-plus years. The inverted bowl design solves the steep-upper-deck dilemma by doing something unexpected: it doesn’t back away, it leans in — with revolutionary balcony seating that catapults viewers closer to the action. The result is broadcast-quality views that are up to 50 percent closer.

The inverted bowl doesn’t just preserve fan safety — it prioritizes it. Larger landings and less crowding minimizes the chances of accidents and keeps fans away from edges — all without compromising viewing positions.

Typical inverted bowl design features four tiers, with each tier seating roughly 2,000 spectators in three rows of seating. Dividing the upper bowl into multiple tiers means guests will navigate fewer stairs to get into and out of their seats. This compartmentalizes the population, allowing for lower density on the concourses, which reduces the chance of panic and crowding in an emergency.

Additionally, a tier of only three rows greatly reduces the vertigo experienced in a steep upper bowl. A spectator seated in the last row of a typical 20-row upper bowl may have to traverse nearly 60 steps to get to their row, and then precariously sidestep in front of seated spectators to access their seat. By comparison, the number of steps in the tiers of the inverted bowl never exceeds 10, which is akin to a typical two-story residence.

A stationary seat with a swing mechanism secures patrons in their seats, and instead of walking in front of other fans to access a seat, individuals walk safely behind the swivel chairs, keeping passersby safely behind tall chair backs. This is achieved by designing each row to be 25 percent deeper than that of the typical upper bowl, adding an additional 12 inches of space for spectators to circulate comfortably. There has never been a bowl designed where fans step behind the seats — a solution that keeps both seated viewers and passersby safe and comfortable.

Concepts like this have the potential to inspire a new generation of arena design and a new era in live entertainment. As more venue designers look beyond traditional conventions to create novel — even unorthodox — venue concepts, the sky’s the limit in terms of upper-level seating and fan engagement.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title “Do steep arena bowls compromise spectator safety?.

TEEX helps Minneapolis emergency personnel prepare for Super Bowl LII


COLLEGE STATION – More than 1,100 emergency responders in the Minneapolis metropolitan area are better prepared for the upcoming Super Bowl LII thanks, in part, to training they received from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

Over the past three years, TEEX training for Minneapolis-area emergency personnel has focused on critical infrastructure protection, threat and risk assessment, sports and special events risk management, incident management, disaster response, cyber incident preparedness, response to hazmat/WMD incidents, and protective measures for biological incidents. In the lead-up to this year’s Super Bowl, more than 40 specialized courses were delivered by TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center® (NERRTC) as part of the Homeland Security National Training Program.

On Feb. 4, more than 66,000 fans will descend on the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the NFL’s pinnacle event, where the New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles. Up to 1 million people are expected to visit the fan festival, Super Bowl LIVE, and the NFL Experience. Law enforcement officers from 40 jurisdictions will be on duty during the event, which is categorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Level One Special Event Assessment Rating, meaning it has the highest threat level to public safety. It also qualifies the city for federal resources.

“We delivered emergency preparedness and response training to emergency personnel and officials in the Minneapolis area in cooperation with the other members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium® and with our partners at the University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security,” said Jesse Watkins, Director of Operations for NERRTC. “This training is DHS/FEMA-funded and offered nationwide at no cost to the individual participants.”

TEEX is already working with city officials and emergency managers in Atlanta, the site of Super Bowl LIII, and has begun offering training to emergency personnel in the area. They are also meeting with officials in Miami, the site of Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

About TEEX

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX served more than 173,000 people from across the United States and 75 countries last year through hands-on training and technical services.

Security deployed at Super Bowl is largest in Minnesota history

Security deployed at Super Bowl is largest in Minnesota history

It’s an enormously complex effort involving hundreds of officers from 60 police departments across the state, 40 federal agencies, the Guard and more.
By Star Tribune

January 27, 2018

Tiny Ely in northern Minnesota — population 3,400 — decided to send nearly 30 percent of its police department to the Twin Cities to lend a hand with security for Super Bowl LII. That’s two of the town’s seven officers.

“You start thinking about your guys, they work in this little small town, it would be a different experience for them,” said Ely Police Chief John Lahtonen.

Ely’s finest will be joining the largest security detail ever deployed in Minnesota — and in Super Bowl history — an enormously complex effort involving hundreds of officers from 60 police departments across the state, 40 federal agencies and related offices, 400 members of the Minnesota National Guard, and private contractors.

It took two years to plan security for Super Bowl LII, where the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will face off in U.S. Bank Stadium Feb. 4, as well as the phalanx of parties and events leading up to the big day. The game itself is expected to draw more than 100 million television viewers.

About $5 million has been set aside by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee for public safety, public works and other costs associated with the game and festivities. The committee is also reimbursing the state $1.08 million for deployment of the National Guard. “Our goal is to keep the city open, vibrant and safe during the Super Bowl,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, whose department is leading the security effort.

The Department of Homeland Security attaches a Level 1 “special event assessment rating” to the event, the highest security designation available, because of the game’s broad national and international reach. “This is a high-profile event with a lot of visibility, not just in the United States, but all over the world,” said Tim Bradley, a security expert with Florida-based IMG GlobalSecur. “So it’s an attractive target [for terrorists] in that sense. However, the amount of security makes it less attractive for someone who wants to launch an attack.”

Law-enforcement officials are circumspect when asked to detail their efforts. The challenge ranges from thwarting potential terrorist attacks to reining in fanatical Patriots and Eagles fans.

“Part of the planning is crowd management and addressing behaviors of all types of individuals,” said Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder. “This includes the over-jubilant and unruly.”

Anyone visiting downtown Minneapolis can detect hints of beefed-up security: Streets have been closed, a chain-link fence and concrete barriers now surround the Downtown East park near the stadium, part of its secure perimeter. Parking garages have some exits blocked. And in days to come, more and more officers will take to the streets.

Unseen security tools likely include license-plate readers, social media tracking of possible threats, radiation detectors and hundreds of temporary surveillance cameras to supplement existing public and private cameras, security experts say. From an emergency management perspective, mass fatality plans will be similar to those used for plane crashes, according to a Super Bowl subcommittee report, first reported by Public Record Media.

Recently, Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher asked Arradondo whether his Downtown East neighborhood will be “a really fun party” or a “military occupation.” The chief assured him it wouldn’t be the latter.

A command center to coordinate security efforts has been set up near U.S. Bank Stadium, the location of which has not been divulged. It has even been scrubbed from public documents for security reasons.

Halo Stafford, senior business manager of the Edition apartments hemming the Downtown East park, has hired a 10-member team to check people entering the 195-unit complex. Edition has also limited the number of people permitted in the complex (one guest for every 200 square feet), denied requests for extra keys, and is closely watching short-term rental sites like Airbnb to make sure none of the units is being rented to third parties for the event.

“It has been very pricey doing all of this to keep residents safe,” Stafford said, noting some residents have grumbled about the added security. U.S. Bank Stadium is unique because of its urban setting, unlike suburban Super Bowl venues at previous sites, such as Houston, Phoenix and Santa Clara, Calif.

But every site has its own challenges, said Matt Slinkard, executive assistant chief of the Houston Police Department. “Houston is 640 square miles. The city is very spread out and we had events happening in an area that is very large,” Slinkard said. “That was somewhat of a challenge.”

Less challenging was mustering law enforcement to help: Houston has some 5,200 officers, far more than Minneapolis’ head count of 840. Houston got help from federal authorities, too. “It’s a big stage and no one jurisdiction can handle it. You have to be flexible to respond to the unforeseen, like a large party that may come up at the last minute,” or traffic snarls.

All told, security in Houston cost $5.5 million, plus an additional $1.6 million for security at NRG Stadium.

Metro Transit officials have dubbed the event “the first transit Super Bowl” — the host committee hopes 20,000 of the 67,000 fans attending the game will take public transportation.

Providing fans access to transit while maintaining service to workday passengers has proved challenging for Metro Transit, however. The game-day plan calls for some 15,000 ticket holders to be screened at the Mall of America before they board the Blue Line light rail. The train will proceed to the stadium, but no one else will be permitted to board. A similar system will be used on the Green Line, where Super Bowl ticket holders will be screened at the Stadium Village stop at the University of Minnesota. The cost: $30 a ticket.

Regular transit riders will take replacement buses until LRT gets back on track Sunday night after the game. This plan caused a storm of controversy when announced last fall. Some transit passengers questioned why wealthy football patrons get preferential treatment.

All told, the Metro Transit Police Department expects to incur $418,000 in Super Bowl-related security costs — all of which will be repaid from security grants.

Metro Transit Deputy Chief of Police A.J. Olson told the Metropolitan Council he has confidence in the security plan. Law enforcement has “the ability when it really matters most to take all of our huge egos … and tuck them in a drawer and get the job done. We don’t worry too much about who gets the credit or blame,” Olson said.

In recent years, lone-wolf attacks, such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, and deadly vehicle-ramming attacks, such as those in Nice, France, and New York City, have increased.

These attacks involve “turning an easily acquired vehicle into a weapon to kill or maim in places where citizens presume they are safe. No firearms have to be acquired or bombs made,” said Brian Michael Jenkins, of the Mineta National Transportation Safety and Security Center. But, he notes, vehicle rammings are not as lethal as might be thought, and can be thwarted to some degree by bollards and extra security.

“Of all the risks we face in everyday life, being killed by a terrorist under any circumstances, we’re talking lottery odds,” Jenkins said.

Super Bowl fan event in Minneapolis replaces security firm: report

By Dom Calicchio | Fox News  2/3/18

The company providing security to Super Bowl Live, a nightly fan event in Minneapolis connected to Sunday’s NFL championship game, has been replaced because of insufficient background checks on its employees, according to a published report.

EPG Security Group, based in Minneapolis, had been left shorthanded after several of its employees were “yanked away” by federal authorities, a Minneapolis police lieutenant told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

One security guard on duty at the event turned out to be a convicted felon, Lt. Bob Kroll told the newspaper, and then federal agents “did checks on other guys.”

The Super Bowl Host Committee replaced EPG with G4S, another Minnesota-based company, the newspaper reported.

100,000 visitors expected

Super Bowl Live is a carnival-like event that has operated on the streets of Minneapolis since Jan. 26, in the run-up to Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. It was expected to attract a total of more than 100,000 visitors, the Star-Tribune reported.

Despite the change in security, there have been no significant problems at the event, the newspaper reported.

The Super Bowl Host Committee declined to comment on the situation, but a spokeswoman issued the following statement:

“Safety and security is and always has been our top priority. We don’t comment on the security measures in place except to say that all efforts are part of an integrated, multilayered partnership with all levels of law enforcement. We are confident that the security measures in place are appropriate and effective.”

Report: Manchester Attack Might Have Been Prevented

7:56 AM, Tuesday, 12/05/2017
By: Gideon Gottfried

An independent assessment of the UK’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 and police reveals that the May 22 attack on Manchester Arena might have been prevented, had authorities appreciated the available intelligence.  AP Photo / Rui Vieira Manchester AftermathA fan leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England, May 23

David Anderson QC, the UK’s former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, penned the report dubbed “Attacks in London and Manchester.” In June, Anderson was hired by the UK’s home secretary to provide independent quality assurance to police and MI5 reviews of the four terrorist attacks on London and Manchester between March and June 2017.

The report states “it is conceivable that the Manchester attack in particular might have been averted had the cards fallen differently.”

Emphasizing that the report’s aim wasn’t to blame anybody but rather learn from mistakes, Anderson comes to the conclusion that MI5’s intelligence on the attacker Salman Abedi “can be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack” in retrospect.

MI5 had closed Abedi as a subject of interest (SOI) after an investigation in 2014. According to the report, the agency has a process of identifying subjects it previously lost interest in, but who merited further examination, “using targeted data exploitation and other automated techniques.”

Abedi had fallen into that category, and a meeting, which had been arranged before the May 22 attack, was due to take place on May 31 to reassess his case.

Anderson’s review team concluded, that the decision to close Abedi as a SOI was “sound on the basis of the information available at the time,” and that the significance of the intelligence MI5 handled in early 2017 “was not appreciated at that time.”

Peter Byrne / PA via APManchester Arena ExplosionsArmed police gather at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England, May 22. Police say there are “a number of fatalities” after reports of an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England

The report also notes that despite Abedi’s status as a closed SOI, “an opportunity was missed by MI5 to place Salman Abedi on ports action following his travel to Libya in April 2017. This would have triggered an alert when he returned shortly before the attack, which could have enabled him to be questioned and searched at the airport by CT Policing under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000.”

The reviewers emphasize, however, that “there is a high degree of inherent uncertainty in speculating as to what might or might not have been discovered if an investigation had been opened on the basis of the new intelligence; but that on the clear balance of professional opinion, a successful pre-emption of the gathering plot would have been unlikely.”

Manchester City Council recently pointed out that it felt let down by the UK government, describing its financial aid in the May 22 aftermath as insufficient. Theresa May subsequently pledged that Manchester would receive the financial support it needed, which could be up to £28 million, according to the city’s mayor Andy Burnham.

MGM is in crisis as hundreds of Las Vegas shooting victims accuse the Mandalay Bay of missing red flags

MGM is in crisis as hundreds of Las Vegas shooting victims accuse the Mandalay Bay of missing red flags

Kate Taylor

  • Nov. 21, 2017

Hundreds of victims of the Las Vegas shooting have filed lawsuits against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and its parent company MGM Resorts International.

Several lawsuits — the largest of which was filed on behalf of 450 people — attempt to hold MGM legally liable for the shooting, which killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. Victims are additionally suing the shooter Stephen Paddock’s estate and the concert organizer Live Nation Entertainment Inc. as well as, in some cases, the manufacturer of the bump stocks that allowed Paddock to fire as if he were using automatic weapons.

The crux of the lawsuits’ arguments is that MGM and the Mandalay Bay failed to take preventive measures that might have foiled the attack. Plaintiffs argue that staff members should have been better trained to spot red flags with Paddock.

Over the three days between when Paddock checked in to the hotel and fired from his window at a concert across the street, Paddock took at least 10 suitcases filled with firearms into his room. Police officials said Paddock also constructed an elaborate surveillance system in the hotel, placing two cameras in the hallway outside his suite — one on a service cart — as well as a camera in his door’s peephole.

“The incident that took place on October 1st was a terrible tragedy perpetrated by an evil man,” MGM said in a statement to Business Insider. “These kinds of lawsuits are not unexpected and we intend to defend ourselves against them. That said, out of respect for the victims, we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels.”

New decision is ominous for Mandalay Bay

mandalay bay windows las vegas shooting David Becker/Getty Images

In October, the Nevada Supreme Court found that MGM could be held liable in a 2010 assault on a California couple at one of the company’s hotels, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The court ruled that the attack was “foreseeable” because there had been similar cases of violence at the hotel.

The question of whether the Las Vegas shooting was foreseeable is at the center of the Mandalay Bay lawsuits.

With several high-profile mass shootings having taken place in the US before the Las Vegas shooting, attorneys may argue that hotels and other venues should know to expand measures to try to prevent them, legal experts told Business Insider before any cases were filed.

“Foreseeability is one of the key components of liability,” said Dick Hudak, a managing partner of Resort Security Consulting.

Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School, says it’s “entirely feasible” that an attorney would make this argument based on the fact that mass shootings have taken place at other entertainment venues.

“If Congress isn’t regulating gun ownership, it is going to be private parties … who end up regulating their own premises,” Feldman said.

The hotel industry has no national standards for security, and hotels aren’t typically held accountable for guests’ behavior. But if any of the hundreds of victims suing Mandalay Bay win their case, it could set a new precedent for the way hotels handle security.

Drone drops leaflets over football stadiums, raising security concerns

Drone drops leaflets over football stadiums, raising security concerns

A drone operator was arrested on Sunday for allegedly flying a small aircraft over two football stadiums in California, prompting an investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement.

The suspect, who was not immediately identified, used a drone to distribute anti-media leaflets over NFL crowds during the game between the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The drone then moved on to the Coliseum stadium in Oakland and attempted to drop flyers over people watching the Raiders game against the Denver Broncos, authorities said.

“If they are dropping leaflets, they can drop anything really, if you think about it, and it’s kind of scary to think that someone can just fly something over during the game and nobody can really stop it,” Ariana Rivera, a 49ers fan, told local KGO-TV station.

Most leaflets did not reach the people, as they were carried away by the wind.

Santa Clara Police Lt. Dan Moreno said the man was motivated by “something about free speech and his belief that television stations are corrupt,” the Chronicle reported.

The drone enthusiast broke a number of laws by flying the device over the stadiums. It is illegal to fly a drone within five miles of an airport and local laws in Santa Clara ban any drones within 500 yards of a facility, according to the police chief.

Both stadiums were within the five mile radius of an airport.

“If one of them were to crash, the blades are sharp — we certainly don’t want them hitting the crowd or the players,” said Moreno, the Chronicle reported. “It’s kind of up to the abilities of the drone operators and there is no way of knowing if they know what they are doing. A stadium is not a good place to fly a drone.”

After the Iron Bowl, Jordan-Hare Stadium’s a bit of a mess

After the Iron Bowl, Jordan-Hare Stadium’s a bit of a mess

Dr. Saturday Jay Busbee,Dr. Saturday, 11/28/17

You may have heard that Auburn defeated Alabama last weekend in the Iron Bowl, a triumphant victory that resounded across the state and the nation. Such milestones don’t come along all that often for Auburn these days, so the fans celebrated by storming the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nice idea, but it’s going to cost the university a quarter of a million dollars in fines and require some extensive landscaping work.

You can understand fans’ enthusiasm; Auburn hadn’t beaten Alabama since 2013, and the victory may well have denied the Tide a slot in the College Football Playoff. But the fans, showing more passion than athleticism, had a little trouble clearing the hedges that surround the field.

As a result, both the hedges and the field are pretty chewed up, and Auburn is in the process of assessing the damage to both. A sweep of the hedges has turned up cellphones, sunglasses and other assorted paraphernalia left behind by revelers.

“The extent of the real damage will not be seen until the spring, when the Bermudagrass breaks dormancy,” Eric Kleypas, Auburn’s director of athletic turf and grounds, told the Opelika-Auburn News.  “Then, we will know if the field can recover without the need for sod.” Crews will need to fertilize the bushes to help them recover, and may need to aerate the field to help it recover from getting stomped by tens of thousands of joyous Tiger fans.

The field-storming not only simulated the force of an earthquake, it triggered a $250,000 fine. The SEC has prohibited field-storming since 2004, and this marked Auburn’s third such violation of the rule. “Fans are expected to remain in the stands and avoid the safety concerns associated with rushing on to the playing field,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “We want exciting experiences around SEC games, but also seek to maintain a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, spectators and officials.”

This, of course, isn’t the first landscaping-related trauma associated with the Iron Bowl; several years ago, a fanatic Alabama fan poisoned Auburn’s famed Toomer Oaks. While the Jordan-Hare damage doesn’t appear as extensive, it has the distinction of being self-inflicted.

Auburn won’t be back in Jordan-Hare until 2018, so there’s plenty of time to get the field in shape. And if the Tigers bring back some new hardware for the trophy case, all will be forgiven.

Alabama fan shoots Auburn fan over which team is better, police say

Alex ScarboroughESPN Staff Writer Nov. 16, 2017

An argument between an Alabama and Auburn fan Monday over which team is better escalated to the point of gunfire, Mobile (Alabama) Police said.

According to police, the Alabama fan shot the Auburn fan outside of an Extenda Suites motel around 7 p.m. on Monday.

“The male subject got mad, pulled out a firearm and struck the victim in the thigh and fled,” the police report said.

Mobile Police arrested 28-year-old Rodney Alexander on Thursday night on a charge of first-degree assault.

The victim’s condition was unknown as of Thursday afternoon.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn are set to play in the rivalry game known as the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25.

The winner will move on to play in the SEC championship game the following weekend and with a win could find itself with a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Edmonton terror attacks: suspect was known to Canadian security services

The Guardian

Canadian police have arrested a Somalian man suspected of stabbing an officer and deliberately ramming pedestrians during a high-speed chase in a rented truck, injuring four in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as a “terrorist attack”.

Authorities in Edmonton confirmed the 30-year-old had applied for asylum and was known to the security services following a complaint in 2015.

“There was insufficient evidence to pursue terrorism charges,” Marlin Degrand, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a press conference, adding: “The suspect was not deemed to pose a threat to Canada.”

Police declined to identify the man because he had not yet been charged, saying the pending charges included terrorism and five counts of attempted murder.

The arrest early on Sunday came after an officer was run over outside a football game and attacked with a knife. Hours later, a U-Haul van injured four other people after swerving into pedestrians in a second attack police believe is related.


The recovery of an Islamic State flag from one of the vehicles used in the attacks had led police to pursue the incidents as an act of terrorism.

Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht said officers took a suspect into custody and they think he acted alone. The attack began outside a Canadian Football League game at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night. Police said a white Chevrolet Malibu rammed a traffic control barricade and sent an officer flying into the air 15ft.

Knecht said the driver then got out and assaulted the officer with a knife before fleeing on foot. The officer was taken to a hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries while a manhunt was launched. “It’s not critical,” Knecht said of the injuries.

A few hours later, a U-Haul van was stopped at an impaired driving check stop north of downtown on Wayne Gretzky Drive. Knecht said the name of the driver was close to the name of the registered owner of the car that hit the officer. He said the U-Haul sped off toward downtown with police in pursuit.

Police say the U-Haul intentionally swerved at pedestrians at crosswalks throughout the chase. Four people were injured – the extent of their injuries was not immediately known. The van eventually flipped near a downtown hotel and a suspect was arrested.

“It is believed at this time that these two incidents are related,” Knecht said. “It was determined that these incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism.”


Knecht said Edmonton police wre working with the Royal Canadian Mounted police’s national security enforcement team and other Canadian security agencies. Knecht told the public to remain vigilant and observant of their surroundings.

Knecht said police did not call off the chase of the U-Haul due to the seriousness of the crime. Witness Pat Hannigan told reporters he saw police pull the man from the windshield of the toppled U-Haul. He estimated 30 police cars were chasing the U-Haul.

Austin Elgie, manager of the Pint bar just west of the downtown core, also saw the van zoom by with police giving chase. The van “peeled” into an alley where people were smoking, he said.

“It was crazy,” he said. “It just came around the corner, ripping. I thought at first he was pulling over for the cops coming by, but he was clearly the one they were chasing.”

Elgie said the van hit a man who was a bar customer.

“I have a registered nurse on my bar team and I grabbed her and had her look after the guy until the ambulance came,” he said. “He was breathing and we got him in the ambulance and he was still breathing.”

Rachel Notley, the Alberta premier, said on Twitter her thoughts were with the injured officer and she was hoping for a speedy recovery.

It was military appreciation night at the football game between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Canada’s chief of defence staff, Gen Jonathan Vance, conducted the pregame coin flip at Commonwealth Stadium and two CF-18 fighter jets did a fly-past before kickoff. More than 800 Boy Scouts were expected at the game and many were planning to camp out on the field afterward.

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