ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — We are learning more about what happened the night a man walked into the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud and started stabbing people.
Investigators say it appears Dahir Adan planned the attack in advance. They say he called his boss on Sept. 17 saying he wouldn’t be working that night. Then, he grabbed two steak knives and drove about a mile and a half to the Crossroads Mall.
Security cameras intended to catch shoplifters instead caught images of Adan wearing a private security uniform, chasing people and then stabbing them.
Cameras also caught the final minutes of Adan’s life, before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him.
At a press conference Thursday, the FBI, St. Cloud Police and the Stearns County Attorney outlined some of the reasons it appears the mall attack was premeditated, and why the off-duty police officer who shot Adan has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The FBI also shared some of what they’ve learned about Adan in the months prior to the stabbings. They say he’d not previously shown an interest in religion, but suddenly wanted to know more about Islam. He stopped playing sports and video games with his friends and lost a significant amount of weight.
“He went from being an excellent student with a high GPA to flunking out of college almost overnight,” FBI Special Agent Richard Thornton said. “Some of this friends noticed — he would become agitated at things which in the past would not have bothered him.”
And then on Sept. 17, security cameras at Crossroads Center captured video of Dahir Adan chasing people and stabbing them with a kitchen knife, over and over again.
“He stabbed or punched victims in the back, shoulder, head, neck or face,” Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said.
Once inside Macy’s, security cameras recorded video of what ended the attacks. Avon police officer Jason Falconer was off-duty and shopping when he heard screams and then saw Adan lunging at him with a knife.
A dozen witnesses told investigators Falconer identified himself as a police officer and ordered Adan to drop his weapon, but he refused. Falconer shot him multiplie times as Adan repeatedly fell and got back up.
The county attorney announced the officer will not face criminal charges.
“Falconer was justified in his belief that deadly force was necessary, to protect himself, others near him and all other people in the area from great bodily harm or death,” Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said.
The FBI says a rumor that Adan was provoked by someone just prior to the attack is not true, but there is compelling evidence the attack was premeditated. Investigators discovered he stopped at a convenience store he regularly visited on the way to the mall.
“And when the store employee said to Dahir ‘See you later,’ Dahir’s reply was ‘You won’t be seeing me again,'” Thornton said. “Evidence suggests he may have been radicalized by the influence of others, or on his own.”
The FBI has searched Dahir Adan’s home, his computers, reviewed his social media sites, but say his iPhone is locked, and they’re still exploring their legal and technical options to get access to its information.
St. Cloud Police say Adan also committed a hit and run on the way to the mall. His car struck a bicyclist and he kept going. That person suffered minor injuries.