FBI takes over St. Cloud mall attack investigation

Police respond to a mass stabbing at Crossroad Center mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Police respond to a mass stabbing at Crossroad Center mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

- The Crossroads Center mall knife attack is transitioning to a federal investigation, according to FBI and St. Cloud Police Department,

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is now directing the case. 

In a press release, officials say the case's transition to the JTTF is "customary" for a "thorough evaluation of the facts and the motivation behind the incident." St. Cloud police will still assist with the investigation.

The FBI is investigating the stabbing of 10 people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota over the weekend as a possible act of terrorism.

At about 8:15 p.m. Saturday,  a man wearing a private security uniform and wielding a knife walked into the Crossroads Center mall near Sears and started stabbing people, according to St. Cloud police.  The man wounded 10 shoppers before he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in the Macy’s. 

St. Cloud police officially identified the suspect as 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan of St. Cloud. 

Off-duty officer a 'hero'

The off-duty police officer has been identified as Officer Jason Falconer, a part-time officer with the Avon Police Department. He is the former Chief of Police from Albany.  At a press conference on Sunday, St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis called Falconer a hero, saying he put his own life at risk to prevent anyone else from getting injured.

Monday morning, Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis said there is no officer he would trust more in that situation than Officer Falconer. 

“I believe there was divine intervention. I believe he was the person that needed to be there to prevent it from being worse than it was," Chief Nellis said. “If I was going to ask anyone to fire live rounds in a crowded mall, I would trust his abilities over anybody’s.”

The Crossroads Center mall reopened Monday after city leaders held a meeting with employees.

FBI investigating possible act of terrorism

Based on witness accounts, Adan allegedly made a reference to Allah and asked at least one of the victims if they were Muslim before he assaulted them.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported an Islamic State-run news agency called Rasad claimed the suspect was a “soldier of the Islamic State.” The news agency said the attacked had heeded calls from the extremist group for attacks in country that are part of a U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. It is not clear if the extremist group had planned the attack or even knew about it beforehand.

The FBI confirmed Sunday they are investigating the stabbing as a possible act of terrorism, but have released no additional information on the investigation.

“We do not at this point in time know whether the subject was in contact with, had connections with or was inspired by a foreign terrorist organization,” FBI special agent Rick Thorton said at a press conference on Sunday.

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