Officials say they haven’t uncovered a link between the suspect in the St. Cloud stabbings and the Islamic State terrorist group.
The incident happened Saturday evening at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud. A man stabbed 10 people before off-duty Avon officer Jason Falconer fatally shot him.
Authorities praised Falconer for preventing the suspect from injuring anyone else, with St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis saying Monday all the victims who were injured have been released from the hospital. The mall has also reopened.
The FBI says it is investigating the incident as a “potential act of terrorism,” with the St. Cloud Police Department noting the suspect referred to “Allah” during the spree.
A connection to the Islamic State?
Following the stabbings, the Islamic State claimed the suspect was one of its “soldiers,” but St. Cloud Police Chief William Anderson reiterated at a news conference Monday that at this point, investigators haven’t seen anything that would confirm the terror group’s claims or that the suspect was anything but a lone attacker.
He also said there’s no evidence that links the stabbings to the explosions in New York and New Jersey.
“If that changes, we will be transparent about that,” Anderson said, noting they are working with state and federal officials to find out everything they can about the suspect. Officials have not identified the suspect.
The president called the governor
Gov. Mark Dayton, who said he is deeply concerned over what happened at Crossroads Center, met with officials in St. Cloud Monday. He urged Minnesotans to “to rise above this tragic incident” and to remember our “common humanity” and “shared citizenship,” he said at a news conference.
Dayton also said he spoke with President Barack Obama Monday morning, who expressed his concern about the attacks and offered any assistance needed. The governor added:
“[President Obama] asked me to convey his high regard for the work together by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. He also asked me to convey his deep appreciation for the heroism of the police officer who stopped the attacker.”
The governor’s office says Dayton later met with Falconer.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other members of the Muslim community have condemned the stabbings and are urging unity following Saturday’s attacks. They plan to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. Monday at St. Cloud City Hall, according to the St. Cloud Times.