A police officer was stabbed in the neck at the Flint airport by a man with a knife in what authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism.
The suspect was immediately taken into custody on Wednesday and hours later federal prosecutors announced the Canadian man was charged with committing violence at an airport. They identified him as Amor Ftouhi of Quebec province.
The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Lieutenant 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 along the lines of “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die”.
The FBI added in the criminal complaint that Ftouhi asked an officer who subdued him why he didn’t kill him.
Neville is in stable condition after initially being in critical condition.
The attack just before 10am (14:00 GMT) at Bishop International Airport prompted an evacuation and extra security elsewhere in the Michigan city which lies about 100km north-west of Detroit.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump was briefed on the stabbing.
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Mike Shaw said “everything is on the table” as far as a motive for the attack.
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 The Flint Journal. “I said they need to get him a towel.”
Cherie Carpenter, who was waiting for a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told Flint TV station WJRT that she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing “blank, just totally blank”.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement any attack on law enforcement officers will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law”.
“I’ve just spoken with officials at the FBI about the attack on a police officer in Flint, Michigan that is being investigated as an act of terrorism,” said Sessions. “President Trump has prioritised the safety of all law enforcement officers, and this Department of Justice is committed to that goal’