The man who stabbed 9 people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, has been identified as 22-year-old Dahir Adan. The identification came from his father Ahmed after the younger Adan was shot by off-duty police officer Jason Falconer.
The Islamic State’s news agency Amaq described Adan as a “soldier of the Islamic State,” but law enforcement officials say they have yet to discover any evidence that he was acting under ISIS control.
“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,” Amaq claimed.
“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,” reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Although Dahir was born in Kenya, his father described him as Somali and said he had been living in the United States for the past 15 years.
The Star-Tribune conveyed a few observations about Adan from people who knew him and revealed he had been employed as a security guard until recently:
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.”
Until June, Adan had worked on a contract basis as a weekend security guard at Electrolux Home Products in St. Cloud, said Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale.
Various accounts of the attack say that Adnan entered the mall dressed as a security guard, possibly wearing the uniform he wore during his time working for Electrolux.
“Authorities said Adan, the attacker, had three previous encounters with police. According to Anderson, most of the encounters were for minor traffic violations, none of which led to an arrest. The police chief declined to provide further details about the attacker until more information was known,” CNN reported on Monday.
The St. Cloud Times quotes community leader Abdul Kulane saying that “as far as the family and community know,” Adan had no “history of violence.”
Kulane said Adan was “known as a smart, accomplished student at Apollo High School” and was “a junior at St. Cloud State University.” However, other media accounts say he has not been enrolled in classes at the university since the spring. He was reportedly majoring in information systems.
The St. Cloud Times report adds the interesting detail that Adan told his family he was heading to the mall to buy an iPhone 7 when he left between 6:00 and 6:30 PM on Saturday evening. He reportedly began his attack around 8:15 PM.
CNN also reported a vague account from “two Somali community leaders who are in contact with the family” that Adan was acting “strangely” before he launched his attack but did not elaborate further. However, Ahmed Adan has stated he had “no suspicion” his son was involved with terrorism.
“We are trying to find everything. I want to know everything about this man, from the day he was born until last Saturday,” said St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson.
According to Anderson, Adan “reportedly made references to Allah during the attack and asked at least one person whether they were Muslim.”
The Star-Tribune adds a detail from St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, who said surveillance video of the attack showed Adan falling and getting back up three times as Falconer shot him, and he lunged toward the off-duty police officer.
“Falconer, who was shopping when he confronted the attacker, is the former police chief in Albany, which is about 15 miles northwest of St. Cloud, and the president and owner of a firing range and firearms training facility, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile says he focuses on firearms and permit-to-carry training, and also teaches ‘decision shooting’ to law enforcement students at St. Cloud State University,” reported the Washington Times.
Falconer is said to have suffered no injuries in the attack, which is said to have lasted for about five minutes before he confronted Adan.
Adan’s stabbing victims included “seven men, one woman, and a 15-year-old girl,” according to the Associated Press, which added that all of them had been treated for their injuries and released by Monday afternoon.