2016 St. Cloud, Minnesota knife attack

On September 17, 2016, Dahir A. Adan, a 22-year old, Kenyan-born American man, stabbed ten people while wielding two knives at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He was shot dead inside the mall by an off-duty law enforcement officer who intervened. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the incident to uncover a possible motive, such as terrorism. Authorities said Adan may have been inspired by radical Islamic groups, but they did not assign a motive for his actions.

2016 St. Cloud, Minnesota
knife attack
LocationSt. Cloud, Minnesota,
United States
Coordinates45°33′24″N 94°12′37″W / 45.5567°N 94.2103°W / 45.5567; -94.2103
DateSeptember 17, 2016
8:15 p.m. (UTC-5)
Attack type
Mass stabbing
WeaponsTwo steak knives
Deaths1 (the perpetrator)
PerpetratorDahir Adan


At about 8:15 p.m. on September 17, an individual began stabbing patrons at the Crossroads Center shopping mall.[2] He was armed with two steak knives, one 10 inches and the other 9 inches. The stabbings first began outside the mall, at a nutrition store, before the attacker entered the building, stabbed an electronics store employee, and ran past a couple of other stores towards the Target and Macy's anchor stores.[3]

Before the spree ended, ten people were injured, three of whom were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.[4] Reports said the attacker made references to Allah, including shouting "Allahu Akbar,"[3] and asked several people if they were Muslim.[5][6][7][8][9]

Immediately following the stabbings, the attacker was confronted by Jason Falconer, a firearms instructor and part-time police officer from nearby Avon, Minnesota.[5][6][10][11][12] When the attacker asked Falconer if he was a Muslim and Falconer answered no, he fled into the Macy's store, pursued by Falconer, who ordered him to drop his weapons. The attacker ran into the clothing display area, turned towards Falconer, and lay down on the floor while still holding both knives. He then charged at Falconer, who fired multiple rounds and shot him, and both fell down briefly in the main aisle. The attacker got up and charged at Falconer again, but he was shot again and fatally wounded.[3]


Ten people were injured in the stabbing, three of whom were hospitalized for non-life-threatening wounds.[4] They were all stabbed or punched in the back, shoulder, head, neck, or face.[3] The hospitalized victims were all released by the next day.[13] The victims were of ages 15 to 53.[14]


Dahir Adan
Dahir A. Adan

c. 1994
DiedSeptember 17, 2016 (aged 22)
Cause of deathSix gunshot wounds by police
OccupationNone (former part-time private security guard)

Dahir A. Adan (c. 1994 – September 17, 2016) was a member of St. Cloud's Somali-American community.[15] He was born in Kenya and moved to the U.S. at the age of two[16][17][18][19] on a refugee visa, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2008.[20][21]

Adan was described by a community spokesman as having no record of violence, and as a good student who was more interested in sports than religion. He attended Apollo High School and was last enrolled in the St. Cloud State University in the spring of 2016, where he planned to major in information systems.[8][14] He had three previous encounters with police for minor traffic violations.[10] His friends described him as a Muslim, but they did not believe he had extremist views.[13]

On October 6, 2016, the FBI announced that the evidence suggests the attack was premeditated and that the attacker had taken "interest recently in Islam, withdrew from his friends and encouraged his sisters to be more religious."[22]

Adan had been employed part-time by the Swiss security services provider Securitas; he had been assigned to guard an unidentified Electrolux facility.[10][23] He resigned in June 2016[24] and handed over his official uniform back to the company. A mall spokesperson said Adan never worked security at the mall, nor was he an employee of the company that did its security.[13]

Two nights prior to the stabbing, Adan called a Somali community soccer coach asking for advice on how to lose weight; the coach later said that he believed Adan was not suffering from any mental illness at the time.[14] According to a Somali-American community leader, Adan had saved up money to purchase the newly released iPhone 7 and was going to Crossroads Center to make the purchase. He was described as "joyful" and "happy" before leaving for the mall.[25]

An autopsy performed on Adan following his death found that he died of exsanguination (blood loss) as a result of the six gunshot wounds he had sustained. He had been shot in the head, chest, side, back, and left leg.[3]


The day after the stabbing, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson declined to call the attack terrorism,[10] saying that it did not appear anyone else was involved in the incident.[15] The FBI started investigating the attack as a "potential" act of terrorism, and the agency's Joint Terrorism Task Force took the lead in the investigation, assisted by local police.[26] The FBI began looking into Adan's social media and other contacts to find a motive.[14]

ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq media agency,[27] claiming Adan "was a soldier of the Islamic State".[28]

On September 28, in the midst of the preliminary investigation, FBI Director James Comey said Adan may have been motivated by "some sort of inspiration from radical Islamic groups."[29] In February 2017, Rick Thornton––the head of the FBI in Minneapolis––told the Associated Press that they were still investigating the attack, but that it was unlikely they could figure out Adan's motives and thought process.[30]

In August 2017, St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson said, "The attack inspired a successful bid to the city for additional funds for training", and he praised Falconer's reaction to the attacker.[31] On April 5, 2018, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Representative Tom Emmer awarded Falconer the Congressional Badge of Bravery.[32]


Leaders of Minnesota's Muslim community, such as Hamza Dudgeon, held a joint news conference in St. Cloud the day after the stabbings. They expressed concern at the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment in response to the attack, calling for unity among the general community.[33][34][35]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Voss, Lee (September 19, 2016). "10th Victim Emerges in St. Cloud Mall Attack". AM 1240 WJON. Townsquare Media. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  2. ^ "Stabbing spree at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota". BNO News. September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kendall, Janelle P. (October 6, 2016). "Stearns County Attorney's Letter on Justified Use of Deadly Force by Off-Duty Officer". Scribd. Stearns County Attorney's Office. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Volz, Dustin; Dobuzinskis, Alex (September 18, 2016). "Islamic State says Minnesota mall stabbing carried out by 'soldier'". Reuters. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Police: Suspect dead after Crossroads stabbing". St. Cloud Times. September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "UPDATE: St. Cloud Mall Attacker Referenced 'Allah' Before Stabbing Spree, Police Chief Says [VIDEO, PHOTOS]". WJON News. September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Narayan, Chandrika; Visser, Steve (September 18, 2016). "ISIS wing claims responsibility for Minnesota mall attack". CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Minnesota mall attacker referenced Allah before stabbing rampage, police chief says". Fox News. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "FBI Investigator: Evidence that St. Cloud Mall Attack was Premeditated". KTSP. October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d "Officer, suspect ID'd in Crossroads stabbings". St. Cloud Times. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Chanen, David (September 17, 2016). "Off-duty officer kills man who stabbed 8 at St. Cloud mall". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "8 people taken to a hospital after Minnesota mall stabbings". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Cox, Peter; Collins, Jon (September 23, 2016). "After a week, more questions, few answers in St. Cloud mall attack". MPR News. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d "Dahir Adan: What we know". Minnesota Star-Tribune. September 22, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "FBI investigating mass stabbing that injured 9 at Minnesota mall as terrorism". Chicago Tribune. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  16. ^ Guerra, Kristine (September 18, 2016). "Officials are investigating Minnesota mall stabbing as potential act of terrorism". Washington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  17. ^ "Minnesota stabbings probed as 'potential' act of terror: FBI". Agence France Presse. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  18. ^ Walsh, Paul; Dupuy, Beatrice; Stahl, Brandon (September 18, 2016). "Family ID's attacker behind 'potential act of terrorism' in St. Cloud". Minnesota Star Tribune. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  19. ^ Baenen, Jeff; Forliti, Amy (September 18, 2016). "FBI investigates Minnesota stabbings as possible terror act". Associated Press. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  20. ^ Petit, Stephanie (September 19, 2016). "Mall Stabbing Suspect Asked Victims If They Were Muslim, 'Not Previously Known' to Authorities: Source". People. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  21. ^ Carney, Jordain (September 19, 2016). "Cruz calls for refugee crackdown after attacks". The Hill. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "FBI Investigator: Evidence that St. Cloud Mall Attack was Premeditated". ABC 5 - Eyewitness News KSTP. Retrieved December 28, 2016. Thornton said evidence uncovered by investigators suggests the attack was premeditated and that Adan may have become recently radicalized. Thornton said Adan took interest recently in Islam, withdrew from his friends and encouraged his sisters to be more religious.
  23. ^ Marohn, Kirsti (September 19, 2016). "Police chief: No link found yet between ISIS, attacker". St. Cloud Times. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  24. ^ "Minnesota stabbing: Dahir Ahmed Adam was known for calm demeanor". The Guardian. Associated Press. September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2016. A statement from Securitas said he resigned from the company in June.
  25. ^ Sterling, Joe; Blau, Max; Flores, Rosa (September 19, 2016). "Stabbing suspect had gone to mall to buy an iPhone, source says". CNN. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  26. ^ Sepic, Matt (September 20, 2016). "FBI takes lead on St. Cloud mall stabbing investigation". Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  27. ^ Fahmy, Omar; Noueihed, Lin (September 18, 2016). "Islamic State supporter behind Minnesota stabbings: Amaq". Reuters. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  28. ^ Walsh, Paul (September 18, 2016). "ISIL says St. Cloud stabbing suspect a 'soldier of the Islamic State'". Minnesota Star Tribune. Retrieved September 18, 2016. The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition...
  29. ^ "FBI head: Extremism apparent influence in St. Cloud mall attack". Minnesota Public Radio. Associated Press. September 28, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016. Comey responded that the FBI is "still working on it," but that it looks like Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, appears to have been motivated "by some sort of inspiration from radical Islamic groups."
  30. ^ Forliti, Amy (February 17, 2017). "Thornton: FBI still investigating Minnesota mall stabbing". Associated Press. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  31. ^ Stephen Montemayor. "One year later, motive of St. Cloud mall attacker remains unclear". Star Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2017. Anderson also recognized Jason Falconer, the off-duty officer who shot Adan as he continued to advance on Falconer with the pair of knives. Falconer fired 10 shots, Anderson said, striking Adan six times before he died from his injuries. The attack inspired a successful bid to the city for additional funds for training, Anderson said
  32. ^ "Officer Who Stopped Minnesota Mall Stabbing Hailed as Hero". WDIO. AP. April 5, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  33. ^ Goyette, Jared (September 18, 2016). "Minnesota's Somali leaders condemn stabbing as report identifies suspect". The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  34. ^ "Latest: Officer who stopped mall stabbing deflects praise". Associated Press. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  35. ^ "St Cloud Tragedy". YouTube.