8 peo­ple in­jured dur­ing stab­bing at­tack at Min­nesota mall

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A knife-wield­ing sus­pect who was dressed in a pri­vate se­cu­rity uni­form and made ref­er­ences to Al­lah while at­tack­ing at least eight peo­ple dur­ing a mass stab­bing in­ci­dent at a Min­nesota shop­ping mall was shot dead by an off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer, au­thor­i­ties said.

St. Cloud Po­lice Chief Blair An­der­son said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence that eight peo­ple were taken to St. Cloud Hospi­tal with non-lifethreat­en­ing in­juries fol­low­ing the at­tack first re­ported about 8:15 p.m. Satur­day at the Cross­roads Cen­ter. One per­son was ad­mit­ted. No fur­ther de­tails were re­leased.

An­der­son said an off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer from another ju­ris­dic­tion shot and killed the uniden­ti­fied sus­pect, who was armed with a knife and wear­ing a pri­vate se­cu­rity firm uni­form at the time of the at­tack. An­der­son did not say where the off-duty of­fi­cer serves.

An­der­son also said the sus­pect made at least one ref­er­ence to Al­lah dur­ing the at­tack and asked at least one per­son whether they were Mus­lim.

But An­der­son de­clined to call the at­tacks an act of ter­ror­ism, say­ing the mo­tive for the at­tacks isn’t known yet. “We will be dili­gent and get to the bot­tom of this,” An­der­son said. “Start­ing to­mor­row, things won’t be the same here.”

Lo­cal po­lice had three pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters with the sus­pect, most for mi­nor traf­fic vi­o­la­tions, An­der­son said, adding that the FBI had of­fered to help with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Au­thor­i­ties “have no rea­son to be­lieve” any­one else was in­volved in the at­tacks, An­der­son said. He said the stab­bings oc­curred in sev­eral places within the mall, in­clud­ing cor­ri­dors, busi­nesses and com­mon ar­eas.

“The en­tire mall is an ac­tive crime scene,” An­der­son said.

The mall re­mained on lock­down fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, but au­thor­i­ties ex­pected those re­main­ing in­side to be re­leased early Sun­day. Pho­tos and video of the mall taken hours af­ter the in­ci­dent showed groups of shop­pers wait­ing to be re­leased, in­clud­ing some hud­dled to­gether near a food court en­trance.

Har­ley and Tama Exsted of Isle, Min­nesota, who were in St. Cloud to watch their son play in a col­lege golf tour­na­ment, were in the mall when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

“All of a sud­den I heard pop, pop, pop,” Har­ley Exsted told the St. Cloud Times. “I thought some­one tipped over a shelf. All of a sud­den th­ese peo­ple started run­ning. I just saw ev­ery­body run­ning our way.” There also were re­ports of some shots fired dur­ing the at­tack. The cou­ple were un­harmed and said they helped another woman who was run­ning from the scene to her car.

Ado­nis Sa­muels, 42, of St. Cloud, was out­side the mall where his wife Rox­anne is em­ployed as a man­ager at Clin­ique at Macy’s.

“She called me on the phone and told me she was hid­ing un­der the counter with a cus­tomer,” Sa­muels said. She later called and said she was safe in a se­cured area.

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