Other officers were searching shrubbery near the mall with flashlights, according to St. Cloud Times staffers on the scene.
In a media briefing after midnight Sunday, Police Chief William Blair Anderson said an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction confronted and fatally shot the suspect Saturday night inside Crossroads Center.
Police and witnesses said the man, wearing a private security company uniform, made a reference to Allah and asked someone if he was a Muslim before striking.
“He clearly prevented additional injuries and potential loss of life”, Anderson said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the incident a “potential act of terrorism”, Richard Thornton, FBI special agent in charge of the agency’s Minneapolis division, told a news conference on Sunday. He attacked his victims at several sites in the shopping center, which will remain closed on Sunday as police investigate, the police chief said.
The man’s father identified the suspect as Dahir Adan in an interview with the Star Tribune. Since 2014, nine Somali-Americans from Minnesota were either convicted at trial or pleaded guilty in a plot to join ISIS by traveling to Syria.
Officials said there’s no indication at this time that the suspect had direct communications with ISIL, or that the terrorist group had planned the attack or knew of it beforehand. Stopping the recruiting has been a high priority, with law enforcement investing countless hours in community outreach and the state participating in a federal project created to combat radical messages.
Community leaders held a news conference Sunday and said the suspect in Saturday night’s attack at a St. Cloud mall does not represent the larger Somali community.
“The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of the countries belonging to the crusader coalition”, Amaq said in a statement.
“IS has encouraged lone wolf attacks”. The identification of Adan came from his father, Ahmed Adan, who spoke to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis through an interpreter. CNN was also unable to confirm if he was Somali.
The attacker was shot dead by a police officer.
While the attacker was not identified, authorities said he had had three previous encounters with police.
One person was admitted to the hospital with more serious injuries but was reported to also have non-life-threatening injuries. Spokesman Adam Hammer said Adan’s intended major was information systems, which is a computer-related field.
Seven male and two female victims were stabbed, ranging in age from a 15-year-old girl to a 53-year-old man, said officials.
“Nine people were injured by an attacker who was killed inside the Macy’s store by an off-duty Avon police officer”.
Carranza said officers checked the identification of each person before they left the mall and locked it down.
“That right there, I started crying”, Woods said.
St. Cloud, with about 67,000 residents, is about an hour’s drive northwest of Minneapolis. A suspicious device was found a few blocks away and safely removed.
In neighboring New Jersey, an explosion went off in a garbage can on the route of a Marine Corps charity run.
Hours after the incident, groups of shoppers huddled inside the mall’s food court.
When the stabbings started, occurring in several locations including some stores, Bayne ran out to the parking lot and took off in her auto, crying and shaking in the aftermath of an event she never thought would happen at the mall.
“One was covered in blood down his face”, she said, and the other man had blood on his back.
“But then when we heard the screaming, then we knew it was time to go”, he added.
Kurt Daudt, the Minnesota House speaker who lives about 40 miles east of the mall, said, “We are grateful for his heroism”.