Minnesota mall attacker identified as American born in Kenya

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The man who stabbed nine people at a Minnesota mall before being fatally shot has been identified as an American born in Kenya.

CNN identified the suspect as Dahir A. Adan, 22, according to federal law enforcement sources and two Somali community leaders in contact with Adan’s family. The man’s identity also was confirmed by the Star Tribune, which spoke to the man’s father.

Adan attended college in St. Cloud and worked for a private security firm before the attack. Ahmed Adan said his son was born in Kenya but grew up in the United States.

Ahmed Adan said police informed him about 9 p.m. Saturday that his son had died at the mall. He had “no suspicion” that he was involved in any terrorist activity, he added. Police raided their apartment on Sunday morning.

The FBI called the stabbings “a potential act of terrorism.”

The Amaq News Agency posted a statement online Sunday, saying, “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.”

St. Cloud, a 67,000-person town about 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis, is one of Minnesota’s larger immigrant Muslim communities. Since 2014, nine Somali-Americans from Minnesota have been convicted at trial or pleaded guilty in a plot to join the Islamic State by traveling to Syria.

Members of the Muslim and Somali communities held a news conference Sunday to mourn the victims and call for unity.

“We are also concerned about the potential backlash,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in Minnesota. “We understand in St. Cloud there is more anti-Muslim organizing, and we hope they do not use this incident to divide (our community).”

Ahmed Said, executive director of the Somali American Relations Council, said it’s not certain religion motivated the attack.

The attacker, wearing a private security company uniform, entered Crossroads Mall on Saturday night around 8 p.m. He asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he attacked.

Jason Falconer, an off-duty police officer from nearby Avon, killed the man.