The FBI announced at an Oct. 6 press briefing that it believes radical Islam influenced the Somali refugee who stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall on Sept. 17.
An off-duty police officer fatally shot Dahir Ahmed Adan after he carried out his attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
At the briefing, FBI special agent Rick Thornton did not have evidence proving Adan was linked to a terrorist group, but he did suggest the 20-year-old was influenced by radical Islam.
“We were told [he] had not previously shown an interest in religion,” Thornton said, according to the Daily Mail.
Thornton said Adan began to withdraw from social activities and encourage people to become more religious. He also went from a high performer in school to nearly failing out of college "almost overnight," The Associated Press reports. While these behaviors individually may not be significant, the combination could indicate something more.
"The totality of Dahir Adan's behavior and the actions suggest he may have been radicalized, either with the influence of others or on his own," Thornton said.
Surveillance footage showed Adan running through the mall with two knives. Witnesses say he asked some of his victims if they were Muslim before stabbing them. None of Adan’s victims were killed in the attack.
A few hours after the attack and Adan's death, ISIS claimed credit, according to the Star Tribune. A magazine affiliated with ISIS, Rumiyah, celebrated the attack by including it in a roundup of recent international "Operations."
“We have numerous credible witness accounts of him asking victims during the attack if they were Muslim and at least one instance yelling 'Allahu akbar' while stabbing one of his victims, and others heard him yelling 'Islam Islam' during the attack,” Thornton said, the Daily Mail reports.
Authorities also believe the attack was premeditated due to several incidents that occurred prior to the attack. Adan hit a cyclist on the way to the mall in his car, but did not stop. Additionally, he visited a convenience store he frequented, and reportedly told the clerk, “You won’t be seeing me again.”
Adan’s family was surprised.
“They believed he was doing as good as he used to do,” Abdulwahid Osman, the attorney for the Adan family, said on Oct. 7, according to the Mail. “That is not the son they knew.”
The FBI has interviewed 180 people during its 19-day investigation. Agents are still working to unlock Adan’s phone, which they hope will contain more information about his motives.