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8 people stabbed at Minn. mall; slain suspect referred to Allah

Posted at 2:27 AM, Sep 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-18 17:49:05-04

ST. CLOUD,  Minn. — Police said the suspect who stabbed eight people at a shopping mall in Minnesota referred to Allah before he was shot and killed by an off-duty officer Saturday night.

Officials said the incident unfolded in multiple locations inside the Crossroads Mall around 8 p.m.

“An armed suspect entered the Crossroads Mall. That individual made some references to Allah and we confirmed that he asked at least one person if they were Muslim before assaulting them,” St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said.

The suspect, who was carrying at least one knife, was later shot and killed by an off-duty police officer, Anderson said.

Anderson said investigators believe the suspect, who was wearing a private security uniform at the time of the attack, acted alone.

“Right now we don’t have any information that would indicate that anyone else is involved,” Anderson said.

One of the eight victims was admitted to the hospital. Officials described the victim’s injuries as not life-threatening.

“The rest have been released or will be released,” St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said.

Officers from multiple jurisdictions responded to the mall, which was later placed on lockdown, after reports of the attack.

Crossroads Mall

Crossroads Mall

One woman working in a J.C. Penney store told KSTP she heard a commotion in the mall.

“They were screaming, ‘Someone’s stabbing people in the mall,’ and people were just really frantic and were running.”

One man told WCCO his family members were trapped inside mall during the chaos.

“I got my family on the inside right now,” he said. “They called me, it was really terrifying and they were really scared for their life. They were telling me that there were people going around shooting, stabbing, killing everybody. They didn’t know what to do, they really didn’t know what to do.”

After the attack, police did a security sweep at the mall and interviewed witnesses.

“The mall will remain closed,” Kleis said. “It is an active crime scene. It will not be open tomorrow.”