ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The FBI released surveillance video on Thursday of last month’s knife attack at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, outlining that the assailant who injured 10 and was killed by an off-duty officer had recently become interested in Islam.
“We have numerous credible witness accounts of him asking victims during the attack if they were Muslim, and at least one instance yelling ‘Allahu akbar’ while stabbing one of his victims, and others heard him yelling ‘Islam, Islam’ during the attack,” FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton told reporters during a press conference.
Dahir Adan, 20, was a Somali refugee and had been attending college, but “almost overnight” went from a successful college student to a withdrawn man who was consumed with the Islamic religion, Thornton outlined. He flunked out of school, lost interest in his hobbies and began urging the women in his family to become more devout in their devotion to Islam.
Adan worked part time as a security guard, and on the night of Sept. 17, he told his family that he had “work to do.” But he then texted his employer and advised that he would not be coming to work.
Thornton said that Adan went to the convenience store that night, and when the clerk casually remarked that he would see Adan later, Adan replied, “You won’t be seeing me again.”
According to the Star Tribune, on his way to the mall, Adan struck a cyclist but never stopped to ensure that the person wasn’t hurt. He then ran a red light before pulling into the mall where he used two steak knives to stab innocent shoppers and mall employees.
Off-duty police officer Jason Falconer had been shopping for a gift for his daughter at Bath and Body Works when the attack took place. Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall told reporters on Thursday that Adan asked Falconer if he were Muslim, and he replied, “No.”
Falconer soon confronted Adan, advising that he was a police officer and repeatedly demanding that Adan drop his weapons.
Falconer shot Adan six times during the incident, which ended in the middle of Macy’s. Surveillance footage shows Adan charging at the officer before ultimately falling on the floor, then trying to crawl forward, knife still in hand. Adan later died from his wounds.
Falconer has been cleared of wrongdoing in Adan’s death and is being considered a hero as Kendall announced that the officer’s intervention was justified.
“You’re looking at an authorized use of deadly force,” Kendall said. “He was faced with an individual in a busy mall armed with two knives, one in each hand, brought to his attention after he was asked if he was Muslim with people running and screaming in fear.”
“The totality of Dahir Adan’s behavior and the actions suggest he may have been radicalized either with the influence of others or on his own,” Thornton told reporters. “[O]ne could reasonably conclude his actions were consistent with the philosophies of violent radical Islamic groups.”