Officials in Minnesota on Thursday released surveillance video showing the brazen knife rampage at a St. Cloud mall last month, and said the attacker who was shot dead by a police officer was likely radicalized.
The suspect, 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, had started reading the Quran in the months before the attack, became less interested in playing video games or basketball and "went from being an excellent student with a GPA to flunking out of college almost overnight," FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton said.
"We have numerous credible witness accounts of him asking victims during the attack if they were Muslim, and at least one instance of him yelling 'Allahu Akbar' while stabbing one of his victims, and others heard him yelling 'Islam, Islam,'" Thornton said.
The Sept. 17 rampage at the Crossroads Center mall left 10 people injured. An off-duty Avon police officer, Jason Falconer, ended the attack when he shot Adan, firing 10 times and striking Adan six times, officials said.
Thornton said "the actions suggest he may have been radicalized either with the influence of others or on his own."
Surveillance video released Thursday shows Adan with a knife attacking a clerk, stabbing him as the victim retreats and falls on the ground before getting up and running away. None of the 10 hurt suffered life-threatening injuries.
The video also shows Falconer confronting and shooting Adan: The suspect initially gets on the ground but then gets up and runs at the officer before he is shot.
"What the witnesses tell us is that continually during this time he's saying 'I''m a police officer, drop your weapons,'" Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said.
Falconer was legally justified in shooting Adan, Kendall said. Adan was armed with two knives and was wearing a security uniform, she said.
Thornton said that based on the evidence, "one could reasonably conclude his actions were consistent with the philosophies of violent radical Islamic groups." Investigators were told Adan previously showed little interest in religion, he said.
Thornton dismissed a rumor that Adan was provoked into the attack by someone at the mall, and said there is "compelling evidence" the attack was premeditated.
Adan struck a bicyclist with his car as he drove to the mall — the impact cracked the windshield — but Adan didn't stop, Thornton said.
"Upon arrival at the Crossroads Center, Adan began attacking victims before even entering the mall," he said.
The attack occurred at around 8:14 p.m. local time (9:14 p.m. ET). At around 7:50 p.m. Adan was in a convenience store he frequented, and hinted at the attack.
"When the store employee said to Dahir 'See you later,' Dahir's reply was 'You won't be seeing me again,'" Thornton said.