FBI Investigates Minnesota Stabbing as Possible Terror Act | NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

FBI Investigates Minnesota Stabbing as Possible Terror Act

ISIS-linked media claims suspect was inspired by the terror group

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    At least eight people were stabbed at a mall Saturday in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Officials say the suspect made references to Allah, and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them. (Published Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016)

    A man in a private security uniform stabbed nine people at a Minnesota shopping mall, reportedly asking one victim if they were Muslim before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him in an attack the Islamic State group claimed as its own.

    None of the nine people who were stabbed in Saturday night's attack received life-threatening wounds, St. Cloud police Chief Blair Anderson said. He said it doesn't appear that anyone else was involved in the attack at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, which began at around 8 p.m. and was over within minutes.

    Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    [NATL] Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    At a news conference Sunday, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Rick Thornton said the attack was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism and that agents were still digging into the attacker's background and possible motives.

    An Islamic State-run news agency, Rasd, claimed Sunday that the attacker was a "soldier of the Islamic State" who had heeded the group's calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition.

    It was not immediately clear if the extremist group had planned the attack or even knew about it beforehand. IS has encouraged so-called "lone wolf" attacks. It has also claimed past attacks that are not believed to have been planned by its central leadership.

    Authorities didn't identify the attacker, but the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said the man's father identified him as Dahir A. Adan, 22. Speaking to the newspaper through an interpreter, Ahmed Adan, whose family is Somali, said his son was born in Africa and had lived in the U.S. for 15 years.

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    A spokesman for St. Cloud State University confirmed that Adan was a student there, but has not been enrolled since the spring semester. Spokesman Adam Hammer said Adan's intended major was information systems, which is a computer-related field.

    He said police told him at around 9 p.m. Saturday that his son had died at the mall, and that police had raided the family's apartment, seizing photos and other materials. He said police said nothing to him about the mall attack, and that he had "no suspicion" that his son had been involved in terrorist activity, the newspaper reported.

    Anderson said police had had three previous encounters with the attacker, mostly for minor traffic violations.

    According to Anderson, the attacker, dressed in a security uniform and wielding what appeared to be a kitchen knife, began attacking people right after entering the mall, stabbing people in several spots inside the building, including corridors, businesses and common areas.

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    Five minutes after authorities received the first 911 call, Jason Falconer, a part-time officer in the city of Avon, shot and killed the attacker, whose name hasn't been released. Anderson said Falconer fired as the attacker was lunging at him with the knife, and continued to engage him as the attacker got up three times.

    "He clearly prevented additional injuries and potential loss of life," Anderson said.

    "Officer Falconer was there at the right time and the right place," he said.

    Anderson earlier said the man reportedly made at least one reference to Allah and asked a victim if they were Muslim before attacking them.

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Leaders of the Somali community in central Minnesota united to condemn the stabbings. They said the suspect does not represent the larger Somali community, and they expressed fear about backlash over the attack.

    Minnesota has the nation's largest Somali community, with census numbers placing the population at about 40,000, but community activists say the population is much higher. The immigrant community has been a target for terror recruiters in recent years. More than 20 young men have left the state since 2007 to join al-Shabab in Somalia, and roughly a dozen people have left in recent years to join militants in Syria. In addition, nine Minnesota men face sentencing on terror charges for plotting to join the Islamic State group.

    The attack in St. Cloud, a city of about 65,000 people 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis, began shortly after an explosion in a crowded New York City neighborhood injured 29 people. A suspicious device was found a few blocks away and safely removed. Hours before that, a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before thousands of runners were due to participate in a charity 5K race. There was no immediate indication that the incidents were linked.

    The mall remained closed Sunday. Of the nine victims — seven men, a woman and a 15-year-old girl — three remained hospitalized, officials said.

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Photos and video of the mall taken hours after the incident showed groups of shoppers waiting to be released, including some huddled together near a food court entrance.

    Harley and Tama Exsted, of Isle, were in St. Cloud to watch their son play in a college golf tournament and were in the mall when the attack happened.

    "All of a sudden I heard pop, pop, pop," Harley Exsted told the St. Cloud Times. "I thought someone tipped over a shelf. All of a sudden these people started running. I just saw everybody running our way."

    The couple were unharmed and said they helped another woman who was running from the scene to her car.

    Falconer, who was shopping when he confronted the attacker, is the former police chief in Albany, which is about 15 miles northwest of St. Cloud, and the president and owner of a firing range and firearms training facility, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile says he focuses on firearms and permit-to-carry training, and also teaches "decision shooting" to law enforcement students at St. Cloud State University.