Family Identifies Attacker Behind ‘Potential Act of Terrorism’ in St. Cloud

Brandon Stahl et al., Star Tribune, September 19, 2016

In a few bloody minutes, a man rampaged through a St. Cloud shopping mall Saturday evening, stabbing nine people before being fatally shot by an off-duty police officer. The violence is being investigated as terrorism, federal authorities said.

None of the nine victims, seven men and two women who ranged in age from 15 to 53, was killed in the attack.

In a media briefing after midnight Sunday, St. Cloud Police Chief William Anderson said an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction confronted and shot the suspect Saturday night inside Crossroads Center mall. He said the man–dressed in a private security uniform–reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them, and referred to Allah ­during the attacks.

“We are currently investigating this as a potential act of terrorism,” said the FBI’s Richard Thornton, speaking at a news conference at police headquarters early Sunday afternoon. {snip}

Roughly 12 hours after the stabbings, a news agency said to speak for ISIL went to Twitter to claim credit for the mall violence. “The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” the posting by the AMAQ news agency read.

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While law enforcement has not disclosed the suspect’s name, his father identified him as Dahir A. Adan, 22. Interviewed Sunday through a translator at his apartment in St. Cloud, Ahmed Adan said his son was born in Kenya but grew up in the United States. Other family members said Dahir Adan was beginning his third year as a student at St. Cloud State University.

Dahir A. Adan

Dahir A. Adan

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Inside the building where the Adans lived, a neighbor said the younger Adan sometimes wore a security guard uniform. A cousin down the hall in the same building described Dahir Adan as a good person who minded his own business.

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Ahmed Said, executive director of the Somali American Relations Council, said they don’t know whether religion motivated Adan, “but we know he is a Somali.”

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Barakad Omar, a classmate of Dahir Adan at Apollo High School, said he was “a good kid” and an A student.

He was more into sports than religion, said Jama Alimad, a community leader and close friend of the family, who described him as “the most assimilated kid in the neighborhood.”

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