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No link found yet between Crossroads Center stabbing suspect and ISIS

ST. CLOUD - No link has emerged between terrorist groups and the man who stabbed 10 people in a St. Cloud mall Saturday night, Sept. 17. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson told reporters Monday that he will let the public know quickly if inves...

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Crossroads Center patrons wait in an entryway as law enforcement responds to the St. Cloud shopping mall after several people were stabbed Saturday, Sept. 17. Mikaela Wettstein / Special to Forum News Service

ST. CLOUD - No link has emerged between terrorist groups and the man who stabbed 10 people in a St. Cloud mall Saturday night, Sept. 17.

St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson told reporters Monday that he will let the public know quickly if investigators find a connection between the suspect in the stabbings, identified by fellow Somali-Americans as Dahir Adan, and terrorist groups such as ISIS. An ISIS-related news agency called Adan a soldier of the organization, but did not indicate he had prior contact with it.

Adan, 20, of St. Cloud and a recent student at St. Cloud State University, grew up in Fargo, according to Fowzia Adde, executive director of the Immigrant Development Center in Moorhead. He was born in Kenya and moved with his family to Fargo from Somalia.

President Barack Obama and several others hailed the off-duty police officer who shot and killed Adan as a hero.

"Thanks to the quick action of a brave off-duty police officer, the suspect was killed and we avoided more people being hurt," Obama said during a New York appearance Monday.

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St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, who watched a video of the shooting, agreed Jason Falconer prevented additional injuries. The mayor said Falconer identified himself as a police officer and the suspect lunged at the officer three times before Falconer fired the third and fatal shot.

Falconer is a part-time Avon police officer and former Albany police chief. He operates a Waite Park firing range and firearms training facility.

"In my opinion, with his training and abilities, he was the right person, in the right place, at the right time," Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis said, according to the St. Cloud Times. "If I had to ask anyone to fire live rounds in a crowded mall, with his training, I'd trust him."

Chief Anderson, meanwhile, said investigators have not connected Adan with ISIS or any other terrorist group.

"As I talk to you today, we haven’t uncovered anything to suggest anything other than it was a lone attacker at this point," Anderson told reporters after he and other officials met with Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who also talked with Falconer in a closed meeting.

But Anderson indicated the investigation by local, state and federal authorities is far from over.

"The directive I gave my staff was that I want to know everything about this individual from the day he was born until last Saturday," Anderson said.

The chief said there is no apparent tie between the stabbings at Crossroads Center Mall and Saturday bomb blasts in New York and New Jersey 1,300 miles away.

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While the president and governor offered to provide whatever investigative assistance St. Cloud needs, Dayton said: "I implore the citizens of St. Cloud and citizens throughout Minnesota to rise above this tragic incident and to remember our common humanity, our shared citizenship and our shared desires to live together peacefully and constructively for the benefit of ourselves and our families and our communities."

Kleis said the nine who were stabbed, all of whom were out of the hospital by Monday afternoon, were not the only victims. So are those who witnessed the incident. Members of the St. Cloud clergy met Monday afternoon in an attempt to aid the city's recovery.

Adan, wearing a private security uniform, made references to Allah and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them at the mall, Anderson said. Community surprised

Somali-American leaders, especially those who knew 20-year-old Adan, were shocked with the attacks.

Abdinasir Ibrahim said he grew up with Adan and remembered him as "very intelligent and smart."

"Dahir Adan was a good kid," Ibrahim said. "He was a 4.0 student."

Abdikarin Mohamed, a nine-year neighbor of Adan, said he also was shocked that the peaceful, quiet man ended up dead after stabbing mall shoppers.

"I never expected I would hear anything like this about him," Mohamed said. "I knew him very well. You would never see him at places where other people hang out. If he wasn’t at work, he was at home with his family."

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The attack also prompted the Somali Community Development of North Dakota to issued a statement on Monday:

"It is with great sadness that Somali Community Development of ND reach out to the community of Saint Cloud, MN and all those impacted by the heinous actions of the individual responsible,” the statement read. “We condemn violence and acts of terrorism against any individuals living in our communities. SCDND mourns with you and would like to express sincere sympathy to the victims, their families, and the communities impacted by this disgusting event. May God give us the power to overcome this tragedy and the strength to reunite communities in these difficult times."

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By Don Davis, Forum News Service
The Twin Cities-based MinnPost.com online newspaper contributed to this story.

 

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