Off-duty police officer Jason Falconer was justified in his use of deadly force when he shot and killed St. Cloud, Minnesota mall stabbing suspect Dahir Adan, the Stearns County Attorney announced Thursday. Adan, 20, was wearing a security uniform when he attacked 10 people with a kitchen knife at the Crossroads Center mall on the night of Sept. 17.
Jason Falconer, a part-time, off-duty police officer with the Avon Police Department, shot and killed Adan, ending the attacks. Falconer happened to be at Crossroads Center that night, shopping at Bath and Body Works to buy a gift for his daughter. Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis said his officer was the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
"I believe there was divine intervention," Chief Nellis said at a previous news conference. "I believe he was the person that needed to be there to prevent it from being worse than it was. If I was going to ask anyone to fire live rounds in a crowded mall, I would trust his abilities over anybody's."
3 videos from inside the mall
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall showed 3 surveillance videos from inside Crossroads Center. One video showed the stabbing of a shopper, another showed shoppers running and a store employee closing a security screen before Adan could get inside, and a third showed the shooting of Dahir Adan by Officer Jason Falconer.
Narrating the video of the shooting, Kendall said Adan approached Officer Falconer and asked if he was Muslim. Falconer said he was a cop and ordered Adan to drop the two steak knives he was holding. Adan charged at the officer and Falconer shot him. Adan continued two crawl toward Officer Falconer with a knife in his hand even after being shot. He tried to get up multiple times and was shot several more times. Kendall said Falconer fired 10 rounds, striking Adan 6 times.
Radicalization and terror ties
"We have numerous credible witness accounts of him asking victims during the attack if they were Muslim," FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton said. "And at least one instance yelling 'Allahu akbar' while stabbing one of his victims.
Last week, FBI Director James Comey said the attack was "at least in part" motivated by "inspiration from radical Islamic groups." Thursday morning, Thornton said FBI investigators learned Adan had not previously shown an interest in religion, but that he changed "almost overnight" from a good student to a college dropout after taking an interest in Islam.
Thornton said investigators believe the attack was premeditated. They believe Adan may have self-radicalized, or been radicalized through the encouragement of others. The FBI is still working to map Adan's digital footprint, including collecting information from his social media accounts and attempting to access his locked phone.