The stabbing of a police officer at a Michigan airport Wednesday by a Canadian citizen who yelled “Allahu Akbar” and referenced people being killed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is being investigated by the FBI as an ‘act of terrorism’, officials said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios said at a news conference Amor Ftouhi, a 50-year-old Canadian citizen, entered Bishop International Airport in Flint around 8:52 a.m. on the first floor. The suspect then headed to the second floor and went to a restaurant leaving there around 9:30 a.m. He then headed into a restroom before dropping both of his bags (a red duffle and a satchel) around 9:38 a.m.. He exited the bathroom with a knife and yelling “Allahu Akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” before stabbing Officer Jeff Neville in the neck.
The FBI report also stated after stabbing the officer, Ftouhi contined yelling “Allah” several times.
Ftouhi then continued with something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die” as he was being arrested, according to Gelios.
Ftouhi was then quickly subdued by another police officer upon which, Ftouhi then asked the officer why he didn’t kill him.
The Canadian citizen was motivated to come to the airport and conduct this act of violence out of a “hated of the United States,” according to Gelios. He first entered the U.S. at Lake Champlain on June 16, and then made his way to Flint, according to Gelios.
Gelios described the weapon as a 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade. Ftouhi was a “lone wolf attacker,” Gelios said.
Ftouhi is being charged with committing an act of violence at an airport, said David Lemisch, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. It is not clear if he could face additional federal or state charges as the investigation continues. Ftouhi was expected to make his first appearance Wednesday in federal court in Flint, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
OFFICER Jeff Neville is Listed in Stable Condition
The officer injured in the incident, Jeff Neville is currently listed as being in stable condition, according to Michigan State Police.
“The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck,” witness Ken Brown, who was dropping his daughter off at the airport, told Michigan Live. “I said they need to get him a towel.”
Another passenger, Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told Flint TV station WJRT she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing “blank, just totally blank.”
Genesee County Commissioner Mark Young said Neville is “an honorable man” whom he has worked with at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
Young visited with Neville’s family at the hospital after the stabbing.
“As expected, they are shook up. They are concerned,” Young said.
The FBI was the lead agency on the scene. State police troopers, along with ATF agents, were also at the airport investigating.
Airport Closed For Several Hours But Since Has Reopened
The airport was closed for several hours as a result of the stabbing, but has since reopened.
The FBI said this is believed to be an isolated incident and that there was “nothing to suggest a wider plot.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asked state resident to “keep the attacked officer in your thoughts and prayers” on Twitter.
Mayor Karen Weaver said in a release Wednesday “the situation is under control” but officials sought to take “extra precautions” in light of the Wednesday morning incident at Bishop International Airport.
The airport posted Wednesday on Facebook that passengers were safe and were being told to check for flight delays or cancellations.
A White House official confirmed to Fox News that President Trump was briefed on the stabbing.
The stabbing marks the second evacuation at Bishop International Airport this month. On June 8, an airport terminal was evacuated after police officers discover a suspicious bag which turned out to be nothing dangerous.
US and Canada Law Enforcement Working Together
Law enforcement agencies in Canada are in touch with their U.S. counterparts and are and assisting in every way possible, Canadian Embassy spokesperson Christine Constantin told Fox News. Constantin said Canada condemns this “heinous and cowardly act,” and that “our thoughts and sympathies are with the officer and his loved ones.”
Radio-Canada reported, Police in Montreal descended on an apartment in the city’s St-Michel neighborhood on Belair Street that was connected to the suspect, Amor Ftouhi, in the stabbing of Officer Neville at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan.
Amor Ftouhi the Suspect in the Stabbing
The suspect, Amor Ftouhi, posted on his Facebook that he was originally from Tunis, Tunisia, but he lived in Montreal, Canada. He wrote that he worked for a Canadian insurance company and had studied at faculté des sciences humaines et sociales de tunis and Collège O’Sullivan.
According to his account on FB, Ftouhi only had three friends had shared posts in Arabic. He also played computer games on Facebook, including one called Army Attack.