Dahir Adan has been identified as the man who launched a knife attack in a Minnesota mall on Saturday that left eight people with serious injuries.
The attack took place Saturday night at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, with the suspect allegedly stabbing several people before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.
The 20-year-old suspect is reportedly a member of the local Somali Muslim community, and during the attack witnesses said he asked people if they were Muslim and stabbed those who said they were not. A report from CBS News claimed that police had interactions with Dahir Adan in the past, but the nature of those interactions was not yet known. Adan was killed in the attack when an off-duty police officer armed with a handgun opened fire.
Details of the Minnesota mall attack are still developing, but police said on Sunday that they do have video of the attack that has been reviewed. The initial investigation has showed that Dahir Adan appeared to be working alone in the attack.
While police had not yet released the identity of the Minnesota mall attacker, members of the Somali-American community in St. Cloud confirmed to the St. Cloud Times that it was Dahir Adan. Community leaders said the attack was especially puzzling given Adan’s past.
“Community leader Abdul Kulane said as far as the family and community know, the suspect did not have any history of violence. He was known as a smart, accomplished student at Apollo High School. He was a junior at St. Cloud State University, Kulane said. Adan was also working part-time as a private security officer, leaders said.”
Those who know Adan said he was last seen at 6 or 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, when he said he was going to the mall to buy an iPhone 7.
Within hours after the attack, the Islamist terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility, though CBS News noted that police have not yet verified a connection.
“Investigators are still trying to determine if the attack actually had any connection with ISIS. A news agency connected with the extremist group claimed Sunday that the suspect the attacker had heeded calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.
“The ISIS-run Rasd news agency called the suspect a ‘soldier of the Islamic State.'”
The FBI said it is investigating the mall attack as a “potential act of terrorism,” the New York Times reported. Though there is no strong connection between Somalia and ISIS — which holds an ever-shrinking portion of land in Syria and Iraq — the group still claimed that Dahir Adan was acting as an agent of the terrorist group.
Though there may not be a geographical connection between Adan and ISIS, the group has been known to recruit westerners through social media and has called on so-called “lone wolf” agents to launch attacks in the group’s name.
Amaq News Agency, which the New York Times noted acts as the terrorist group’s “news wire,” released a bulletin from the group that said the “executor of the stabbing attacks in #Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State.”
Officials in St. Cloud tried to reassure the public on Sunday, saying that they are being diligent in investigating the attack.
“It has hit home for us,” said Chief William Blair Anderson (via the New York Times). “But I want everybody in St. Cloud to know that we will be diligent and we will get to the bottom of this.”
“It’s an awful day, honestly,” he added.
This is a developing story. More details will be added about Dahir Adan as they come available.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]