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Police identify St. Cloud mall attacker; faith leaders urge unity

St. Cloud’s police department said Monday evening a medical examiner has identified 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan as the suspect who was shot to death by an off-duty police officer after stabbing 10 people at the Crossroads Center mall Saturday night.

Family members told the Star Tribune Adan was born in Kenya to Somali parents, but grew up in the U.S. He had studied at St. Cloud State University, where he planned to major in information systems. A friend of the family told the newspaper Adan was an A student who was also a tutor.

There was nothing more serious than a traffic violation on Adan’s arrest record, KSTP reports, and he had worked for a security firm that assigned him to a store near Crossroads Center for a few months ending in June. Authorities say Adan wore a security guard’s uniform when he went on the stabbing rampage Saturday.

Police say victims reported Adan made references to “Allah” and asked at least one person if they were Muslim during the stabbing spree. The FBI is looking into whether Adan had ties to the Islamic State terrorist group, but officials said Monday they haven’t been able to link him to terrorism, saying everything right now points to Adan being a lone attacker.

“He was a normal American kid,” Jama Alimad, a leader among St. Cloud’s ethnic Somalis and a friend of Adan’s family, told the New York Times. “I can’t see anyone more assimilated than that guy.”

Adan’s family told WCCO that Adan went to the mall Saturday to pick up the iPhone 7 he had preordered.

Plea for tolerance and unity

The Somali community in Minnesota has been bracing for backlash following the stabbings. And there has been some – a sign at a Lonsdale ice cream shop says “Muslims get out,” according to KSTP.

But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) and leaders from other faiths have condemned the stabbings, and on Monday evening they launched a #StCloudTogether hashtag in an effort to unite the community. CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein called the community resilient, and said they will move forward and build a solid community that’s inclusive and welcoming to all.

“This tragedy will not break us. This tragedy will unite us,” Hussein said at the news conference.

Interfaith leaders have said there is some anger, fear and anxiety in the community following the incident, but together they will move forward. At the news conference Monday, State Rep. Jim Knoblach, who represents part of St. Cloud, asked people to put aside the anger they may have and not pass judgement. Instead, he asked people to pray for the city.

Police say 10 people were injured

At least 10 people were injured at the mall, police said Monday afternoon. That’s up from the nine reported earlier, with St. Cloud police saying investigators reviewing security footage discovered a 21-year-old man was injured but did not tell police or seek medical attention due to the nature of his injuries.

All the victims have been released from the hospital, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said Monday. One of the victims shared his story with The Associated Press. (Watch the video below.)

Isaiah Mordal of Big Lake had finished working at the mall at 8 p.m. and his girlfriend Johanna Bohenenkamp, who is expecting a baby, arrived there to pick him up, the couple told WCCO.

They say the attacker came after them outside an entrance, stabbing Mordal in the shoulder, while Bohenenkamp was nicked on the neck. Mordal told the station blood was running down his back and into his shoes as he ran into the mall to warn others.

Minutes after the stabbings began, off-duty Avon police officer Jason Falconer fatally shot Adan.

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