FBI Asks: Was Minnesota Mall Stabber Radicalized?

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Before he took up his knives at a Minnesota shopping mall, Dahir Adan delivered a haunting farewell and warning. “You won’t be seeing me again,” the 20-year-old Somali refugee told a store clerk as he stepped out into the night of Sept. 17. An hour later, he was dead, shot down by an off-duty police officer after he hacked and slashed his way through the mall with a steak knife in each hand. Ten people were stabbed and left bleeding, an entire community was terrorized, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. At a news conference  yesterday, investigators spelled out in detail just what happened in the mall that Saturday night, even as they still search for the reasons why. While they have yet to establish a solid link between Adan and a terrorist group, they said victim and witness interviews, store video, and Adan’s words and actions in the minutes before and during the stabbings pointed to a premeditated attack.

There were videos from mall surveillance cameras, showing Adan, dressed in his security guard uniform from work, chasing terrified shoppers. A quick-witted clerk in a candy shop slammed down the security grate just as Adan lunged toward him, knives clearly visible in his hands. It was only recently that Adan’s once-promising life veered off-course, said FBI agent Richard Thornton. “Almost overnight,” Thornton said, Adan changed from a bright college student interested in basketball and video games into a sullen, withdrawn young man with an intense interest in Islamic studies. He went from top grades to flunking out of school. He lost weight, lost interest in old pastimes, and started chiding the young women in his family to be more devout. It added up to a pattern that suggested to the FBI that Adan “may have been radicalized,” either on his own or with the help of others.

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