FBI Confirms Minnesota Mall Terrorist Was Radical Islamist
The FBI have now confirmed that Dahir Ahmed Adan, the 20-year-old Somali refugee who went on a steak knife-wielding rampage at a St. Cloud, Minnesota mall on Sept. 17, was indeed motivated by radical Islam.
At a press conference on Thursday, the FBI revealed that they had talked with "numerous credible witnesses" that heard Adan yelling "Allahu akbar!" and "Islam! Islam!" and asking potential victims if they were Muslims before inflicting wounds in the head, neck, and chest of a total of 9 shoppers before being shot dead by off-duty officer Jason Falconer, who was thankfully armed. On his way to the mall, Adan injured another person: a cyclist, whom he hit with his car at an intersection.
The FBI provided some details Thursday about Adan's radicalization, which the bureau believes occurred recently. After recently turning to a more intensive study of Islam, the eventual jihadist began "flunking out of college almost overnight," withdrew from his other hobbies and interests, and began encouraging his female relatives to start observing Islamic teachings more strictly. "We were told (he) had not previously shown an interest in religion,"said FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton.
Whether he was influenced in his radicalization by others or "self-radicalized" is still being investigated. Regardless, the evidence shows that by the time he went on his thwarted murder spree, he had embraced the jihadist teachings of radical 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," said Thornton.
ABC News provides a summary of the harrowing encounter between Adan and Falconer as revealed by the FBI Thursday:
Falconer was shopping and legally armed when he saw Adan coming towards him, officials said. Adan asked Falconer if he was Muslim, and Falconer answered "no," he told authorities. Adan then turned away and Falconer saw two knives in Adan's hands. Falconer yelled that he was a police officer and ordered him to drop the weapons. Adan ran toward Macy's and Falconer followed, authorities said.
Surveillance videos from inside Macy's, viewed by ABC News, show Adan running into the store with Falconer following with his gun drawn. According to witnesses, Falconer was yelling that he's an off-duty officer and that Adan should drop his weapons. In the videos viewed by ABC News, Adan went towards Falconer. Adan was shot by Falconer several times during their encounter, according to authorities and the videos.
The revelations come a week after FBI Director James Comey suggested that radicalization might have been a motive for Adan's actions.
As for Falconer, he will not be charged for his likely life-saving actions—which included firing 10 rounds, 6 of which struck the terrorist—the shooting deemed "justified in the use of deadly force."
Below is a photograph of the knives Adan used in the attack: