A Canadian, who told police he hates the United States, is accused of stabbing a police officer in the neck at a Michigan airport.
Amor Ftouhi, 49, who the FBI described as a Canadian citizen who crossed into the United States from Quebec on Friday, was under arrest Wednesday and facing a charge of causing violence against a person with a weapon at an international airport. Special Agent David Gelios of the FBI said the agency is investigating the attack as an act of terrorism and more charges may follow.
Montreal police, acting on behalf of the RCMP, went to an apartment in the city's east end to question three people in connection with the suspect, police confirmed. No arrests were announced and police did not appear to be searching the apartment.
Special Agent Gelios said the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes the suspect is a "lone wolf" attacker. The suspect was co-operative during interviews in the hours following the attack Wednesday morning at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. The agent said the FBI has no evidence Mr. Ftouhi was trained or part of a cell, but he added the investigation is in its early stages.
"He has a hatred of the United States and a variety of other things, which in part motivated him to come to the airport today and commit his act of violence," he said during a briefing at the airport. "We don't believe anyone was involved with this individual, we have no information to suggest a wider plot, but it's very early in the investigation."
The wounded officer, Lieutenant Jeff Neville of the airport police, was in hospital in stable condition Wednesday. "Lt. Neville did require some surgery. It didn't require a lot of time, he got through it well and is resting comfortably," said Chief Chris Miller of the Bishop Airport public-safety department.
According to the FBI, Mr. Ftouhi arrived at the Flint airport at 8:52 Wednesday morning where he lingered for about 50 minutes on the ground level and a second floor restaurant before he went into a bathroom. The suspect never attempted to enter the secure area of the airport and had no airline ticket on him, according to the FBI.
The FBI said the suspect allegedly pulled out a 30-centimetre serrated knife, called an "Amazon Jungle survival knife," and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck while shouting "Allahu akbar," meaning "God is great," in Arabic, repeatedly. "You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and you are all going to die," the suspect allegedly said, according to Special Agent Gelios.
Lt. Neville fought his attacker and managed to subdue him until help came from other officers and an airport maintenance man. The suspect allegedly asked Lt. Neville why he didn't kill him, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
"Lt. Neville never stopped fighting until I handcuffed this person," Chief Miller said.
The FBI said Mr. Ftouhi was unknown to them before the attack and he appeared to have no criminal history in Quebec court records. His Facebook profile indicates he was born in Tunisia and studied there. Officials would not confirm the information Wednesday evening.