The terror in St. Cloud

The authorities in St. Cloud have been sparing in their release of information regarding the stabbing rampage perpetrated by Somali refugee Dahir Adan at the Crossroads Center mall on the evening of September 17. Since the joint press conference held by the mayor, the chief of police and the FBI in the immediate aftermath of the incident the following day, the authorities have remained mum. I wrote about what we knew as of September 20 in “‘Minnesota man’ strikes in St. Cloud.”

The FBI has taken over the investigation and, with one exception, said nothing for public consumption. The one exception is the brief comment made by FBI Director James Comey in response to a question posed by Rep. Ron DeSantis in the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week. Comey suggested that the investigation tended to support the suspicion that the rampage was inspired by an Islamic terrorist group. (I quoted Comey and posted the video of his testimony on this point in “Comey on the stabbing rampage.) No surprise there.

Today Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall announced that Jason Falconer — the off-duty Avon police officer who heroically stopped the rampage by killing Adan — would not be charged because the officer’s use of force was justified. No surprise there. Kendall presented video of the rampage to explain her decision (KARE 11 excerpt below). The most terrifying video available online at the moment shows Adan in action above.

The Star Tribune reports on the press conference at which Kendall spoke here. KMSP 9 has posted a video of the entire press conference here together with its account.

FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division Richard Thornton also spoke at the press conference. Consistent with Comey’s testimony last week, Thornton summarized circumstantial evidence tending to support the inference that Adan was inspired by an Islamic terrorist group.

Dana Thiede’s KARE 11 report highlights what can be seen of the press conference in the two videos above:

The most jarring part of the presentation was the showing and release of surveillance tape capturing Adan attacking and stabbing a store clerk who had walked to the entrance of his establishment after hearing screaming and commotion from the mall’s common area. The tape shows the employee fleeing as Adan entered the store clearly like a man on a mission, raising the large knife and stabbing the young man several times.

Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall then stepped to the podium, announcing there will be no charges against Avon Police Officer Jason Falconer and saying it is clear that his use of deadly force in firing on Dahir Adan was justified. To back up the decision Kendall played surveillance tape from inside Macy’s that captured the fatal encounter between Falconer and Adan. She described how Adan approached Falconer in the Crossroads Mall, asking him if he was Muslim. When Falconer answered by saying no, Adan turned away, and the off-duty officer saw the two knives he was carrying.

At that point Falconer began pursing Adan, identifying himself as a police officer and demanding that Adan drop his weapons. Instead the suspect fled, with Falconer pursuing him into Macy’s. Witnesses describe Falconer identifying himself as an officer over and over, telling Adan to drop the weapons. Cameras capture Adan laying down for a period of seconds, then getting to his feet and charging Falconer. The officer fires, striking Adan, who kept advancing despite his wounds. Investigators say Falconer opened fire a second time, dropping Adan to the ground. The suspect managed to get to his hands and knees, crawling at the officer with a knife in his hands. A third burst of gunfire finally stopped Adan.

The authorities took no questions after their presentations at the press conference. The FBI continues an investigation that has obviously consumed enormous resources in its Minneapolis office.