FBI investigating officer’s stabbing at Flint airport as terrorism

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 21, 2017

FLINT, Mich. — The FBI is investigating the stabbing of a police officer at the Flint, Michigan, airport on Wednesday “as an act of terrorism,” officials said.

Amor Ftouhi, a 50-year-old Canadian resident, has been charged with violence at an international airport, FBI Special Agent David Gelios said. Ftouhi is accused of stabbing Lt. Jeff Neville.

Ftouhi entered the United States legally through Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16 and made his way to Bishop International Airport, where he arrived Wednesday, Gelios said.

“He spent a little time in the restroom, dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck,” Gelios said.

After stabbing Neville, Ftouhi continued to yell “Allah,” several times, according to a criminal complaint.

He said something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,” the complaint said.

A law enforcement officer subdued Ftouhi, who asked the officer why he did not kill him, the complaint said.

More charges could be added, Gelios said.

Neville, who was stabbed on the public side of the airport’s main terminal, was in satisfactory condition, said Chief Chris Miller of the Bishop Airport Safety Division. Neville had worked at the airport for years and rose to the rank of lieutenant in 2006, according to airport director Craig Williams.

“Lt. Neville got him to stop stabbing him,” Miller said. “Lt. Neville fought him right to the end, right until I was able to handcuff this person.”

Officials said a maintenance worker was injured while helping to subdue the suspect.

The airport, which was evacuated, later reopened.

Described as a lone-wolf attack

A law enforcement official said the stabbing appears to have targeted law enforcement.

“Based on the information, we have presently, we don’t believe that anyone was involved with this individual. We have no information to suggest a wider plot,” Gelios said, adding that the investigation is in the early stages.

He added: “Time will tell over the next several days whether anyone had any knowledge of this, but at this time we view him as a lone-wolf attacker”

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the attack, an administration official told CNN.

Suspect’s Montreal residence searched

A US official told CNN that, based on preliminary information, it appears Ftouhi has traveled between the United States and Canada multiple times.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Embassy in Washington said its government and law enforcement agencies are “engaged and are cooperating fully” with their American counterparts.

CBC News, a CNN newsgathering partner, reported that police in Montreal went to Ftouhi’s apartment.

Luciano Piazza, the building’s owner and Ftouhi’s landlord, said Ftouhi moved into the apartment with his wife and children five years ago. Piazza said he was “very surprised” to hear that Ftouhi was charged in the attack.

“He’s a good person, very quiet. I’ve never had any problems with him,” Piazza said, CBC News reported.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver gave words of support for the officers.

“(P)lease keep the attacked officer in your thoughts & prayers,” Snyder said on Twitter.

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of our law enforcement officers who work to service and protect us each and every day,” Weaver said in a statement.

The airport’s police department has six full-time and six part-time police officers. About 800,000 passengers took flights through Bishop last year, according to statistics from the airport.