Photo: Calgary Police
Al-Azan Shah Muhammad, age 17 (LEFT) and Amir Abdulrahman, age 19 (RIGHT)
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Calgary police have issued first-degree murder warrants for two people they allege hit and dragged an officer during a traffic stop that turned deadly.
Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, died shortly after the New Year’s Eve incident in northeast Calgary.
“Today is the day that I have had nightmares about,” Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld told a news conference Friday.
“I’m pissed off. It’s totally senseless.”
Police said Harnett had pulled over an SUV in the northeast Calgary shortly before 11 p.m. Harnett, who was a supervisor and working alone, noticed that the plates on the vehicle did not match its description and decided to pull it over, Neufeld said.
Neufeld said the vehicle took off during the stop, hitting the officer and dragging him down the road.
A second unrelated vehicle was also involved and “may have come into contact with Sgt. Harnett” on the road, Neufeld said. He added the driver of that vehicle stayed at the scene and is helping with the investigation.
Police say paramedics and fellow officers were there in minutes and tried to revive Harnett, but he died in hospital nearly an hour later.
Officers are searching for Al-Azan Shah Muhammad, 17, and Amir Abdulrahman, 19, both of Calgary.
Police say they applied to the courts to get permission to identify the younger suspect. People under the age of 18 who are facing charges aren’t typically allowed to be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police said they believe the younger teen was the driver and Abdulrahman was a passenger at the time of the incident. Neufeld said investigators don’t believe it’s possible that the driver wasn’t aware the officer had been hit.
Police said investigators located the vehicle believed to be involved in the incident on Friday afternoon after receiving a tip from the public.
They say the copper-coloured 2006 Infiniti FX SUV was found at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in the northeastern neighbourhood of Taradale and is now undergoing forensic testing.
Neufeld said Harnett’s death reinforces the ongoing dangers law enforcement professionals face every day.
“There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as a low-risk event. There’s an unknown risk and this type of incident really sort of underscores that.”
An emotional Neufeld added he knew the officer personally, but called his death a blow to the entire CPS family.
Harnett, a 12-year veteran of the force, was previously a military police officer for two-and-a-half years. He leaves behind a spouse, Neufeld said.
“I’ve actually worked a shift with him personally,” Neufeld said. “A consummate professional, amazing, amazing with the public and he’s everything you’d would want in a quality police officer.”
Neufeld said Harnett also helped investigators identify the suspects before he died, but gave few details.
“Part of the reason we’ve been able to progress this investigation as quickly as we have was as a direct result from some exceptional police work done by Andrew prior to his death,” Neufeld said.
“He is helping us solve this and bring those responsible to justice.”
Neufeld said video of the incident shot from a police vehicle’s dashcam and Harnett’s own body camera has proven useful.
“He did a very good job of capturing and recording information and in this case the fact he’d done that was very helpful to us.”
The president of the Calgary Police Association said all members are grieving Harnett’s death.
“Our members…have all put their own personal grief aside in order to conduct a professional and thorough investigation so that those responsible for this cowardly act can be held accountable,” John Orr said.
Calgary’s mayor also paid tribute to the fallen officer.
“In particular my heart today is not only with Sgt. Harnett’s family but also with the women and men of the Calgary Police Service because I know a little bit about that family and a little bit about that incredible fraternity of people who come together to keep us safe every single day,” Naheed Nenshi said.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney offered his condolences on Twitter.
“His death reminds us of the real risks taken by police officers every day,” Kenney said.
“This was a terrible crime. I hope that the perpetrator is brought quickly to justice.”
– The Canadian Press
UPDATE: 1:54 p.m.
Calgary Police have located the vehicle believed to be connected to the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, thanks to help from the public.
Around 1:30 p.m. today, police found the vehicle in the northeast community of Taradale. It has been brought in for forensic testing.
Both suspects remain at large.
We have located the vehicle connected to the death of an on-duty officer, thanks to a tip from the public. Suspects Al-Azan Shah MUHAMMAD and Amir ABDULRAHMAN remain at large. Call 403-428-8877 or 403-266-1234 with tips. @CanStopCrime #yyc #wantedhttps://t.co/Hnivm7TvBP pic.twitter.com/5TTDNatmvn
— Calgary Police (@CalgaryPolice) January 1, 2021
ORIGINAL: 11:05 a.m.
First-degree murder warrants have been issued for two teens who allegedly struck and killed a Calgary police officer in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve.
While completing a traffic stop, Sgt. Andrew Harnett was struck by a fleeing vehicle at around 10:50 p.m. at Falconridge Boulevard and Falconridge Drive N.E.
Calgary Police are looking for Al-Azan Shah Muhammad, 17, and Amir Abdulrahman, 19, both of Calgary. RCMP says an application was made to the Youth Division of Calgary Provincial Court in order to identify the youth charged in this case.
Police say Muhammad, the alleged driver, and Abdulrahman, his passenger, were in the SUV that was stopped by Harnett. The driver allegedly fled the traffic stop and struck Harnett.
Police are also searching for a copper-coloured, 2006 Infiniti FX, with a small spare tire on the front passenger side. The vehicle also has noticeable hail damage.
“Despite the heroic attempts by his colleagues and members of EMS, he died as a result of his injuries. There is a massive effort underway to locate and bring to justice those responsible for taking the life of one of our members. Dozens of sworn and civilian members are working around the clock tracking down each and every lead and these efforts will not stop,” said Calgary Police.
Harnett was pronounced dead at the hospital close to midnight. The 37-year-old joined the Calgary Police service 12 years ago after serving as a military police officer.
The search for the teens continues. Roads in the area are closed and will remain closed for some time.
Anyone with information on the suspects and the vehicle is asked to call Homicide Tip Line at 403-428-8877, or the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers.
Photo: Calgary Police
Sgt. Andrew Harnett