Two adult males were stabbed at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on Sunday evening. However, police said that the motive behind the attack was attempted theft, and the victims suffered non life-threatening wounds when they tried to stop it. Bloomington police identified the suspect as Mahad Abdiaziz Abdirahaman, 20, of Minneapolis.
“The initial investigation has revealed that one of the victims returned to the dressing room after trying on clothing and found the suspect attempting to steal his personal property,” Bloomington Police said in a press release. “A confrontation ensued and the suspect pulled a knife and stabbed the victim. The second victim, who is related to the first, heard the confrontation and intervened and in doing so was also stabbed. The suspect received minor injuries from the victims while they disarmed him… Mahad Abdiaziz Abdirahaman, 20 years old from Minneapolis, is being held on 2 counts of 1st Degree Assault.”
“Sounds like victim was trying on clothes and when he stepped out of fitting room, suspect slipped in and stole something,” KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse wrote on Twitter. “Victim witnessed theft and confronted thief– and was stabbed.” He added, quoting police, “6:44 at Macy’s stabbing happened… was an interrupted theft. Suspect went into dressing room, tried to steal, was caught.”
Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said in a news conference that “the suspect went in and tried to take some property and, when confronted, he produced a knife and stabbed one man. Some family members assisted the victim and a second man sustained another knife wound.”
The ages and identities of any victims were not yet released. Early on, CBS Local reported that authorities had confirmed that at least one person was stabbed and said they had closed the first floor of the Macy’s store. Bloomington police said on Twitter at about 8 p.m. November 12: “A subject is in custody after a stabbing at Macy’s MOA. BPD will address media at the media staging area across Killebrew Dr @8:30 pm.” At that news conference, authorities revealed that two people were stabbed, and the suspect was disarmed.
According to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “the stabbing happened in the men’s department at Macy’s on the first level. One person was stabbed in the back; another was stabbed multiple times. The suspect also was wounded.” The newspaper reported that a suspect was arrested. The newspaper interviewed Kim Schwieters of Grant, Minn., who was at the mall with her children visiting Santa Claus.
“We saw two cops running toward Macy’s,” she told the Star Tribune. “By the time we got to the main area — the men’s department is to the right — more police started running in with their guns drawn. My daughter could see people lying on the ground who had been stabbed.” She also told the newspaper that another man had said he may have seen the suspect, adding, “He saw the man walking through before, talking to himself, really really loudly talking to himself.”
The Mall of America released a statement: “This evening during an interrupted theft inside Macy’s Mall of America, two people were stabbed and sustained non-life threatening injuries. One person is in custody and Bloomington Police is conducting the ongoing investigation. Our thoughts are with the families involved.” Police said the victims and suspect didn’t know each other.
One woman wrote about what she described as a frightening experience inside the mall: “Just lived through the scariest experience of my life. I heard someone screaming ‘He got me! He got me!’. I knew something was not right. Some other shoppers ran towards the screaming, and someone (who I believe was the victim’s brother) yelled ‘911!’ I called the police and hid,” she wrote on Twitter.
KSTP-TV reported that “The response included Bloomington police, at least one ambulance and the Hennepin County Crime Lab.” KTSP reporter Matt Belanger wrote on Twitter, “Witness of stabbing at @mallofamerica tells @KSTP it happened in the men’s section of Macy’s. She heard screaming and crying and saw multiple victims before hiding to save herself…”
Photos from the scene showed police activity outside the Macy’s. On Twitter, people said the number of those stabbed could range as high as six people, but that did not end up being the case. Photos also showed an ambulance outside the MOA.
Although it doesn’t appear that the stabbings have any nexus to terrorism, as police say the motive was attempted theft, the modus operandi raised fears early on because a St. Cloud mall stabbing attack in 2016 was perpetrated by a Somali refugee, Dahir Adan, who stabbed 10 people. He was shot by an off-duty police officer in the Macy’s store of that mall.
This article will be updated as more information becomes known about the Mall of America stabbings.