FBI: Attack on Bishop Int'l. Airport Officer is "Act of Terrorism"

Jun 21, 2017

WKAR'S Reginald Hardwick breaks down the events of the lone wolf attack at Flint Bishop International Airport. 


6:00 P.M. UPDATE: Federal prosecutors announced a Canadian man was charged with stabbing a police officer at Bishop International Airport on Wednesday morning. They say it is an act of terrorism.  

A police officer was stabbed in the neck at the Flint airport by a man with a knife Wednesday in what authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism.

The suspect was immediately taken into custody, and federal prosecutors hours later announced the Canadian man was charged with committing violence at an airport. They identified him as Amor Ftouhi of Quebec.

 


The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Lt. 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 similar to "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.

4:30 P.M. UPDATE: A Michigan county commissioner says an airport police officer has undergone surgery after being stabbed in the neck. Genesee County Commissioner Mark Young says he spoke with Lt. Jeff Neville's family at a hospital after the Wednesday morning attack at Bishop International Airport in Flint.

4:00 P.M. UPDATE: The FBI says it's aware of reports that an attacker made statements during the stabbing of a police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint but that it's too early to determine their nature or whether the incident was an act of terrorism. The airport remains closed and evacuated. No passengers were harmed, police said.

The statement Wednesday from the FBI says it is believed the stabbing was an isolated incident and there was no further threat to the Flint community. The officer is in stable condition at a hospital, and the suspect in FBI custody and being questioned.

Earlier a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because the individual wasn't able to publicly discuss the incident, said the FBI is looking at terrorism as a possible motive in the stabbing.

A second law enforcement official also speaking on condition of anonymity said authorities were investigating witness reports the suspect made during the incident, including saying "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great."

The White House says President Donald Trump has been briefed on the stabbing of an officer at the Flint, Michigan, airport.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert briefed Trump on Wednesday regarding the stabbing. Law enforcement officials have said the FBI is looking at terrorism as a possible motive in the assault at Bishop International Airport.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the individual wasn't able to publicly discuss it says the investigation of the Wednesday morning assault at Bishop International Airport is in its early stages.

A second law enforcement official also speaking on condition of anonymity says authorities were investigating witness reports the suspect made during the incident, including saying "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great."

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw says one person is in custody and nobody else is believed to have been involved.

Shaw identified the officer who was stabbed is Lt. Jeff Neville with the Bishop International Airport police. He says Neville's condition also has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.

12:20 P.M. UPDATE: Flint officials say they have stationed police officers around City Hall out of caution after an officer was critically hurt at the city's airport a few miles away.

Mayor Karen Weaver said in a release Wednesday "the situation is under control" but officials sought to take "extra precautions" in light of the Wednesday morning incident at Bishop International Airport. The municipal building remains open.

12:00 P.M. UPDATEBishop International Airport remains closed to the public. Officials on Wednesday evacuated an airport in Flint, Michigan, where a witness said he saw an officer bleeding from his neck and a knife nearby on the ground.

On Twitter, Michigan State Police say the officer is in critical condition and the FBI was leading the investigation.

Bishop International Airport posted on Facebook that passengers were safe and were being told to check for flight delays or cancellations.

Ken Brown tells The Flint Journal he was dropping off his daughter at the airport and saw the officer bleeding from his neck. He says he saw a man detained by police and a knife on the ground.

"The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck," Brown said. "I said they need to get him a towel."

Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, tells Flint TV station WJRT she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing "blank, just totally blank."

Airport and police officials didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Flint is about 50 miles northwest of Detroit.