MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – The St. Cloud mall where a man stabbed several people before he was shot and killed over the weekend is expected to reopen Monday.
Around 8 p.m. Saturday, a man carrying a knife stabbed nine shoppers at Crossroads Mall. Authorities said the attack lasted five minutes and ended at Macy’s when an off-duty Avon police officer shot and killed the suspect.
The stabbing victims range in age from 15 to 50. The St. Cloud Police Chief said the suspect asked one victim if they were Muslim.
A source told WCCO the suspect is 22-year-old Dahir Adan and that he attended St. Cloud State University.
Police said they executed two search warrants at two apartments in St. Cloud after the attack, as well as located Adan’s car which was cleared and impounded.
However, there was no manifesto or anything in writing indicating the suspect’s motive.
On Sunday, an Islamic State-run news agency claimed the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State.” However, it’s not clear if the group had planned an attack or even knew about it beforehand.
St. Cloud authorities said they’re digging through the suspect’s background and working to get answers.
“There’s a lot we don’t know. We do not at this point in time know if the subject was in contact with, had connections with, or was inspired by a foreign terrorist organization. That’s what the investigation is attempting to ascertain at this point in time. That will involve all the things that you would expect. We’ll look at his social media, we’ll look at his electronic devices, we’ll talk to his associates. We will try to peel back the onion to figure out what motivated this individual,” FBI Investigator Richard Thornton said.
All nine victims are OK.
Investigators are calling Avon police officer Jason Falconer a hero. Falconer was off-duty Saturday night and shopping at the mall.
Police said when the suspect lunged at Falconer with a knife, he fired his gun until Adan did not get back up.
Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali community, with census numbers placing the population at about 40,000 but community activists saying it’s even higher.
The 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 possibility of an attack on U.S. soil has been a major concern for law enforcement. Stopping the recruiting has been a high priority, with law enforcement investing countless hours in community outreach and the state participating in a federal project designed to combat radical messages. If Saturday’s stabbings are ultimately deemed a terrorist act, it would be the first carried out by a Somali on U.S. soil, said Karen Greenburg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law.
St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis said an attack like Saturday’s is the type of worry that keeps him “up at night.”
According to its Facebook page, Crossroads is will open at 10 a.m.
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