When Amir Abdulrahman and his 17-year-old friend were pulled over by police on New Years Eve, there was already a warrant out for the older teen’s arrest.
Abdulrahman, 19, was wanted for assault when Sgt. Andrew Harnett initiated a traffic stop in the city’s northeast. The vehicle he stopped struck and dragged him, killing him.
Both Abdulrahman and the 17-year-old youth are now charged with the first-degree murder of Harnett.
The younger teen turns 18 years old on Jan. 11.
Lawyers for the two indicated on Saturday they plan to apply for bail at the earliest opportunity.
Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld thanked the public on Saturday afternoon for initiating a “blue campaign,” placing blue ribbons on homes and said the “tremendous support” from the community has been comforting to Harnett’s colleagues.
On Thursday night, just before 11 p.m., Harnett had pulled over the vehicle after running the license plate and discovering it didn’t match the SUV.
He spoke with both the driver and passenger before the vehicle fled, striking and dragging Harnett who was described by police Chief Mark Neufeld as a “highly decorated” 12 year member of CPS as well as a former military police officer.
Despite the “desperate” attempts of fellow officers and paramedics, Harnett died at the scene, according to the Calgary Police Service.
Police quickly identified the two teenage suspects who, with help from their lawyers, turned themselves in by 5:30 p.m. Friday evening.
WATCH | 2 teens charged with murder in death of Calgary police officer:
2 teens charged with murder in death of Calgary police officer
1 day agoVideo
Two teenagers are in custody on first-degree murder charges in the New Year’s Eve death of Calgary police Sgt. Andrew Harnett who was dragged by a vehicle during a routine traffic stop.2:28
Kaysi Fagan, the lawyer for the 17-year-old, who was the alleged driver at the time of Harnett’s death, says she helped arrange for her client to surrender.
“My client’s name was unexpectedly national news Friday morning. He was proactive, he called me, I touched base with homicide and within hours we attended together at police headquarters,” said Fagan. “I’m dialled in on securing his release now.”
On Saturday morning, both teens appeared before a justice of the peace via CCTV from the arrest processing unit with their lawyers joining by telephone.
Abdulrahman was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim of the previous assault.
The pair will be back in court Monday.
Defence lawyer Andrea Urquhartr requested her client, Abdulraman, attend in person on Monday so she can meet with him at the Calgary courthouse as there is a Covid-19 outbreak at the remand centre and visits are prohibited.
CBC News previously named the 17-year-old after police took the unusual step of making an application to the youth division of the Calgary Provincial Court in order to identify the teen who, at the time, was at large.
The order technically expires five days from being issued, but CBC News has since removed his name and photo now that he is in custody.
Harnett, 37, is the 12th officer to be killed in the history of the Calgary Police Service.
Jason Harnett, Andrew’s brother, said Friday that the family was devastated in the wake of the incident. Jason said he texted his brother on Thursday.
“The last thing that I texted him before I wished him Happy New Years was, ‘Bro, you be safe.'”
Harnett family ‘overwhelmed’
CPS thanked the public for the “tremendous outpouring of support” on Saturday afternoon.
“Knowing you are thinking of Andy, his family and our policing family, when you yourselves are dealing with all of the uncertainty and challenges of the past year, is comforting to say the least,” Neufeld said in a statement released by the service.
In Calgary and beyond, some have initiated a “blue campaign” placing blue ribbons on their homes and changing porch light bulbs to blue as a show of support to Harnett and the larger policing community.
“It means the world to our officers to see these displays while they continue in their duties during this difficult time,” Neufeld said. “Thank you to those who begun this campaign, and to those who have taken part.”
CPS has also set up an email address for those wishing to offer messages of condolence to the officer’s family.
CPS said the Harnett family is “overwhelmed,” and has asked for privacy until they are ready to release a public statement and additional photos.
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