The police declined to say if this was an act of terrorism. Have we become so PC that we are afraid to speak the truth, even if it is right in front of us?
A man in a private security uniform stabbed eight people at a Minnesota shopping mall, reportedly mentioning Allah and asking at least one victim if they were Muslim before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him, authorities said.
All eight victims were treated at a hospital for wounds that weren’t life-threatening, St. Cloud police Chief Blair Anderson said at a news conference. A St. Cloud Hospital spokeswoman, Chris Nelson, said five of the eight were released and three remain hospitalized. No further details of their conditions were released.
The attack happened at around 8 p.m. Saturday at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, a city of about 65,000 people 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis.
A man in a security uniform and armed with a knife stabbed people in several locations in the mall, including corridors, businesses and common areas, the chief said. He said an off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction shot and killed the suspect, though he didn’t say where that officer serves.
Anderson said the man reportedly made at least one reference to Allah and asked a victim if they were Muslim before attacking them. But he declined to call it an act of terrorism, saying the motive was still unknown.
“We will be diligent and get to the bottom of this,” Anderson said. “Starting tomorrow, things won’t be the same here.”
An Islamic State-run news agency, Rasd, claimed Sunday that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had heeded the group’s calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition.
It was not immediately clear if the extremist group had planned the attack or even knew about it beforehand. IS has encouraged so-called “lone wolf” attacks. It has also claimed past attacks that are not believed to have been planned by its central leadership.
Anderson didn’t identify the attacker, but he said police had had three previous encounters with him, mostly for minor traffic violations. He said authorities have no reason to believe anyone else was involved in the attack. The FBI is helping with the investigation.
“The entire mall is an active crime scene,” Anderson said.
A police spokesman, Sgt. Tim Burke, declined to say Sunday whether the attacker worked as a security guard at the mall or was just posing as one.