Skip to main content

Mall of America stabbing 'changed my whole life,' victim says

Mahad Abdiraham was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison on Friday.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

What's happened?

Mahad Abdiraham, the 20 year old who carried out a double stabbing at the Mall of America Macy's in November, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

During a court hearing on Friday, his two victims – brothers Alex and John Sanchez – described the impact the horrific ordeal has had on them.

The Sanchez brothers were with other family members for their Sunday evening tradition of visiting the MOA to shop, eat or see a movie.

On Nov. 12, Alex Sanchez needed to buy pants, with his family joining him in Macy's. When he emerged from the dressing room, Abdiraham confronted him, and proceeded to go on a stabbing frenzy.

What did they say?

Alex Sanchez, who was 19 at the time of the assault, told the court via the Hennepin County Attorney's victim advocate "this ordeal has changed my whole life."

He was seriously injured in the attack, with one stab wound in the arm going through to the bone, making it difficult for him to life things, and he also received several stab wounds in the face.

“The scars on my face and my upper torso are so visible and people stare at me and I wonder what they think about me,” he wrote. “Without my dad, my brother and my cousin, I don’t think I would be alive today.”

Although he made no mention of it after the initial arrest, Abdiraham said while entering his guilty plea that he was "answering the call of Jihad" and the "no one in America will be safe."

“He wants to eliminate innocent Americans for a stupid belief,” Alex Sanchez said in his statement.

His brother John, who ran to his aid along with their father and a cousin, said his injuries have made life a "daily struggle" as they've both been able to work since the attack.

He also said his 5 year old son is now scared of going to the mall after witnessing the violence, and said he wants justice for what he calls "a terror attack."

“There has been statements that he was told by Allah to do this,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “It doesn’t matter to us what deity you believe in or no deity at all, if you seriously injure someone, we will prosecute you and, if successful, seek a long prison term." 

Abdiraham did not speak during the sentencing hearing.

Next Up

Aaron Rodgers

Broncos hiring Packers OC sparks speculation Rodgers could follow

What about both Rodgers and Davante Adams teaming up in Denver?

Minneapolis Fire Department

Fire tears through House of Charity building in Minneapolis

The charity serves hundreds of meals to those in need daily.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here’s what the Vikings owners say about new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Vikings announced his hiring on Wednesday night.

raiaing canes brooklyn park crop

After 3-month delay, newest Twin Cities Raising Cane's opens

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in October.

st anthony armed robbery screengrab

Armed man robs Twin Cities thrift store, flees in carjacked pickup

He pulled out a handgun shortly after chatting with the cashier about his scarf.

red wing 6

Gallery: Pagoda-inspired home on Lake Pepin for sale for $2M

The home has 425 feet of private shoreline on the Mississippi River.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Plow 2 (1)

Photos reveal damage from gunshots to Minneapolis snowplow

A hydraulic line and three tires were damaged in the shooting.

unsplash - school classroom students

Minneapolis schools confirm return to in-person teaching Monday

The school district shifted to online learning almost two weeks ago as rising COVID cases led to staff and bus driver shortages.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Mineral leases for proposed Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters canceled

A review by the DOI found "significant legal deficiencies" with the leases' 2019 renewal.


Reward to find person who left kittens to die in freezing WI cold

The cats were thrown from a vehicle, according to a witness.

metro mobility bus

Charges: Man led police on multi-city pursuit in stolen Metro Mobility bus

The bus had been left unattended with the keys inside when it was stolen.


Man dies from stab wounds outside hotel near the Mall of America

Police are not looking for any suspects and say there's no threat to the public.

2 stabbed at Mall of America's Macy's store

It apparently happened during a theft attempt.

Man sentenced for cyber attacks on MN government agencies, colleges

The 55 year old was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Boy attacked at Mall of America is now 'alert and conscious'

The latest family statement is a hugely positive one.

Best Buy is closing its Mall of America store

It's come to the end of its 10 year lease.

'Don't build Mall of America waterpark,' says nearby competitor

The CEO of nearby Great Wolf Lodge says it's too risky of an endeavor.