Stabbing of officer at Michigan airport being investigated as act of terrorism
FLINT, MICH. (ABC)-- Authorities are investigating the stabbing of an airport police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, this morning, as an act of terrorism, David Gelios of the FBI said today.
The police officer, Lt. Jeff Neville, was stabbed in the neck, and is in stable condition and expected to fully recover, officials said.
The suspect, who was taken into custody after the incident, was identified as Amor Ftouhi, a Canadian man who legally entered the U.S. in Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16, and later traveled to Flint, Gelios said.
Officials said the suspect was outside the TSA screening area at the time of the attack.
Ftouhi allegedly went into a public restroom, then dropped his bags and "came out, pulled out a knife, yelled 'Allahu Akbar' and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck," Gelios said.
Gelios said the attacker, armed with a roughly 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade, "continued to exclaim 'Allah' and he made a statement to the effect of 'you killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan,' and, 'We're all going to die.'"
Officials said Neville got the suspect to stop the attack, and that "Neville never stopped fighting" until the suspect was in handcuffs, which happened within about one minute.
The suspect was interviewed about his motivations and was cooperative, officials said. No one else appears to have been involved and there is no information to suggest a wider plot, officials said.
There's no indication that the suspect spoke to anyone before the attack, officials said.
Officials said it appears the suspect "has a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things that motivated him to coming to the airport today to conduct this act of violence."
A complaint was filed against the suspect for "violence at an international airport," officials said, adding that it's an ongoing investigation and there's a joint operation ongoing with Canada. There could be more charges in the future, officials said.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, "I want to assure all our law enforcement across the nation, any attack on someone who serves and protects our citizens will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." He added, "Our prayers are with the officer and his family for a full recovery.”
The airport, which was evacuated and shut down, was later reopened. All passengers were safe amid the investigation, officials said.
An airport official said this afternoon that Neville is "doing fine" and "resting comfortably" at a hospital.
The FBI said earlier, "We believe this to be an isolated incident" and there is "no specific, credible information that there is a threat to the Flint community."
The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the situation but at this point is not advising airports to make any changes, DHS spokesman David Lapan said today.
The Canadian Department of Public Safety said in a statement, "We condemn this heinous and cowardly attack. The officer and his family and colleagues are foremost in our thoughts and prayers. "The Minister of Public Safety has spoken with the RCMP Commissioner and the National Security and Intelligence Advisor about the attack at Bishop International Airport in Flint Michigan. There is complete cooperation between the RCMP and other Canadian authorities with their US counterparts. The American authorities are leading the investigation, which is still in its early stages. Canada stands ready to assist in any way it can."
ABC News' Jeffrey Cook, Rachel Katz and Dominick Proto contributed to this report.