Dahir Adan, the Somali refugee “who stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall had become interested in Islam in the last several months, withdrew from his friends and encouraged female relatives to be more religious, the FBI said Thursday,” the Associated Press reports.
Rick Thornton, FBI special-agent in charge of the Minneapolis office, speaking at a press conference in Minnesota, said the Somali native “may have been radicalized, either with the influence of others or on his own.”
“We were told [he] had not previously shown an interest in religion,” Thornton added, without identifying Islam as the particular religion.
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“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,” Thornton said.
“Allahu Akbar” means “Allah is Supreme,” and it refers to the Islamic deity, Allah.
As Breitbart News reported previously, Dahir Adan’s family was invited by the federal government to settle in North Dakota in the 1990s. He and the family subsequently moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Adan’s attack took place at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota on September 17.
According to the Associated Press:
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said Adan was armed with two steak knives. The off-duty officer from a nearby city who shot Adan six times and killed him inside a Macy’s store won’t face charges, said Kendall, who showed surveillance video of Adan crawling and trying to get up after being shot …
Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali community, with census numbers placing the population at about 57,000. Young Somalis have been a target for [Islamic] terror recruiters. Since 2007, more than 20 young men have joined the militant group al-Shabab in Somalia. In addition, roughly a dozen people have left to join militants in Syria, and nine Minnesota men face sentencing on terror charges for plotting to join the Islamic State group.
As Breitbart News reported, FBI Director James Comey said last week that Adan may have been motivated by “inspiration from radical Islamic groups.”
MPR News reported from the news conference that “FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton and other authorities laid out a harrowing narrative of Adan’s life in the months leading up to the Sept. 17 attacks, the attacks themselves where Adan roamed the mall in a security guard uniform carrying two steak knives.”
They also praised the heroism of Jason Falconer, the off-duty officer who shot and killed Adan after the attacker came at him several times, knives in hand. Stearns County authorities said Falconer’s use of deadly force was justified and that he shouted numerous times he was a police officer as he ordered Adan to drop the weapons.
The stabbings left 10 people wounded at the mall; none had life threatening injuries.
Thornton on Thursday confirmed that Adan asked several people during the attacks if they were Muslim and that during one stabbing was heard to say,”Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for God is great.
Thornton described Adan, 20, as someone who had been more interested in basketball and video games than religion but then changed in the months before the attack.
He “went from being an excellent student with a high GPA to flunking out of college, almost overnight,” Thornton said.
Thornton said the investigation is ongoing. The FBI is tracing Adan’s social media and other digital activity. He also said Adan’s iPhone is locked and the FBI is assessing its next steps in gaining access.
“Authorities on Thursday didn’t detail the nature of Adan’s likely radicalization. But using store video, they laid out a stunning story of the attacks in minute-by-minute fashion and of a suspect who kept attacking even while shot and bleeding,” MPR News reported:
On his way to the mall that night, they said, Adan stopped at a gas station where an employee said “See you later.” Adan responded, “You won’t be seeing me again.”
He also hit a bicyclist but didn’t stop.
Adan began attacking people before entering the mall.
Authorities also released videos of Adan stabbing a store clerk and of Falconer confronting him, showing his badge, and of Adan coming toward him with a knife in his hand even after Falconer had shot him.
Adan’s family rejected the FBI’s conclusions, according to the Associated Press.
the attorney for Adan’s family, Abdulwahid Osman, said his parents and close family members did not see the behavioral changes that investigators described. “They believed he was doing as good as he used to do,” Osman said. “That is not the son they knew.”