The Muslim ‘knifeman’ was shot and killed by an off-duty cop at the Crossroads Center in St. Paul. The suspect was dressed in a private security uniform. Witnesses said the attacker referenced ‘Allah’ several times and asked at least one victim if he was Muslim.
The details were outlined by the St. Cloud police chief in a midnight news conference on the September 17 mass stabbing, which occurred in a central Minnesota community of about 67,000 people in an area usually isolated from terrorism concerns.
Asked if he would call the mass stabbing at the Midwestern mall a terrorist attack, St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson said, “Not yet.” He said police needed to investigate and do their due diligence. “What we know is it is a lone suspect who attacked eight people. Whether that was a terrorist attack, we are not willing to say that right now because we just don’t know.”
He said police had no indication anyone else was involved. He said the stabbings occurred in multiple locations, different businesses and common areas, within the busy shopping center. The chief said the suspect was wearing a private security uniform and the police had at least three previous contacts with the suspect for mostly minor traffic violations.
WCCO interviewed an eyewitness, Ashley Bayne, who works at the J.C. Penney store in the mall. She told WCCO: “I went closer to the mall entrance by J.C. Penney’s and I was looking at some jeans and all the sudden people were just running in chaos. They were screaming, ‘Someone’s stabbing people in the mall,’ and people were just really frantic and were running.”
KARE 11 talked to an eyewitness who said people were walking around with blood on them.
The news broke around the same time that reports came in of the explosion in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, which left at least 29 people injured, one of them seriously, according to the New York Post. However, there was no indication of any connection.
Earlier in the day, an explosion occurred in a trash can at the starting line of a Marine run in New Jersey.
The incident also came the day after a deadly rampage in which six people, including two police officers were shot by Nicholas Glenn in Philadelphia.