WASHINGTON: The man arrested for stabbing a police officer in the neck at a Michigan airport — in what has been classified as a terror incident — had tried but failed to buy a gun, officials said Thursday.
Amor Ftouhi, 49, the Canadian man accused in Wednesday’s attack, was charged with one count of committing an act of violence at an airport. He was to remain in jail pending a bond hearing next week.
Investigators are probing the incident at the Bishop International Airport in Flint as an act of terrorism, coming amid a wave of jihadist-inspired attacks in Europe.
In tracing Ftouhi’s steps, investigators discovered that he bought the knife he used in the attack after crossing into the US on June 16, and had also attempted to buy a firearm, FBI Special Agent David Gelios told a news conference.
“We have information that Ftouhi attempted to buy a gun, and was unsuccessful in that attempt in the United States,” said Gelios, refusing to elaborate further due to the ongoing investigation.
Ftouhi yelled “Allahu Akbar” — “God is greatest” in Arabic — before stabbing a police officer in the neck, and then exclaimed “Allah” several more times, according to court documents.
“He further exclaimed something similar to, ‘You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,’” FBI Special Agent Thomas Sondgeroth said in an affidavit.
At a federal court hearing in Flint on Wednesday night, the government described Ftouhi as a Canadian and Tunisian citizen who has lived in Canada for 10 years. A married father of three children, he worked intermittently as a truck driver.
The injured officer, Lieutenant Jeff Neville, was in stable condition and improving, authorities said.
Ftouhi could face additional charges as the investigation proceeds.