A stabbing incident at Crossroads Center occurred at 8:15 p.m., leaving nine victims hospitalized. St. Cloud Police were joined on scene by multiple law enforcement agencies including Waite Park, Cold Spring and St. Cloud Fire Department.
Sgt. Jason Burke with St. Cloud Police Department released that the suspected attacker of the incident was shot and killed in the mall.
Riley Price, St. Cloud State University student and employee at H&M in Crossroads Center was present at the time of the attack.
“It was probably around 8:30, and I was near the back of the store and I heard screams, it definitely sounded like a man,” Price said. “But I didn’t think anything of it because people yell in that area a lot. Then I saw a man sprint past the store, and like a minute later another man ran after him, his whole back was covered with blood, shirt off, and he was screaming, ‘someone’s stabbing people’ and so we got all of the customers to the back room and locked the store,” Price said.
“There were more screams coming from the hallway,” Price said. “It was terrifying.”
St. Cloud Police Department Chief Blair Anderson and Mayor Dave Kleis spoke at a news conference shortly after midnight on Sunday, releasing more details.
An off-duty police officer, Jason Falconer, shot and killed the suspect after the rampage. The suspect had walked into the mall dressed in a private security uniform shortly after 8 p.m. and made references to Allah during the attack, according to Anderson. The suspect also asked someone if they were Muslim before attacking them.
Anderson does not think this was a terror-related incident, but they are working diligently to get to the bottom of the attacker’s motive.
A press conference was held Sunday afternoon at the St. Cloud Police Department regarding the stabbing at Crossroads Mall. Speakers at the conference included St. Cloud Mayor, Dave Kleis, Police Chief Blair Anderson and Minneapolis FBI special investigator Richard Thornton.
“People always ask me, what keeps me up at night,” Mayor Kleis said. “Well, this is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.”
Kleis gave praise to the St. Cloud Police, and the employees at Crossroads Mall and Target for their immediacy and teamwork.
“Had the police not gotten there as quick as they did, things could have been a lot worse,” he said.
While Mayor Kleis sent his condolences, Police Chief Anderson provided the media with updates.
“We are trained to deal with situations like this, none of us want to have to do that, but our job is to ensure public safety for all,” said Anderson.
The St. Cloud Police have executed two search warrants since the attack, one was done inside a home in St. Cloud and the suspects vehicle was found in the mall parking lot. It has been impounded.
“We don’t know if the suspect had any connections, affiliations or associations with any particular terrorist organization,” Thornton said.
Thornton said the FBI would be checking the suspect’s social media in order to find out more information.
ISIL claimed credit for the incident on social media, the Star Tribune reported.
The University Chronicle was not able to confirm the identity of the suspent in time for this issue. Follow the story online for updates at www.universitychron.com.
The University Chronicle is updating this story as more information unfolds.
Jessie Wade, Kyle Fahrmann and Bailey Vertin contributed to this story.