FLINT, Mich. — A 50-year-old man from Quebec has been charged in the stabbing of a police officer Wednesday at an airport in Michigan that is being investigated as an act of terrorism, U.S. federal prosecutors said.
They said the incident happened at 9:45 a.m. at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich., located about 80 kilometres northwest of Detroit.
FBI special investigator David Gelios said Amor Ftouhi entered the United States legally in Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and made his way to Flint on Wednesday morning.
Gelios said Ftouhi entered the airport, spent a little time on the first level, then went upstairs where he spent some time in the restaurant.
“Then he came out, he was carrying baggage,” he said. “He went into a restroom. 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.”
Ftouhi has been charged with committing violence at an airport.
The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Lt. Jeff Neville with a large knife and declared “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great.” The FBI, which is leading the investigation, said Ftouhi said something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.”
Public Safety Canada called the incident a ”heinous and cowardly act,” adding that Canadian law enforcement agencies are in touch with their U.S. counterparts.
“There is complete co-operation between the RCMP and other Canadian authorities and agencies with all of their counterparts in the United States and we will do everything we possibly can to assist in this matter,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters in Ottawa.
Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw says the officer who was stabbed in the neck has undergone surgery and his condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.
Witnesses described seeing the suspect led away in handcuffs by police, Neville bleeding and a knife on the ground.
“The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck,” Ken Brown told local media.
Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told a local TV station she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing “blank, just totally blank.”