An attacker who was trying to behead a man and woman he randomly stabbed in Virginia may have been inspired by ISIS, ABC News reports.
Wasil Farooqui, 20, was arrested after ambushing the victims outside of a Roanoke apartment complex Saturday night, according to ABC News. The FBI is now investigating the assault as a possible terrorist attack.
The victims fought off Farooqui and survived the assault, Roanoke County Police said in a press release. They were hospitalized with unspecified serious injuries, but their conditions were not known Tuesday. Their names were not released.
Police said the investigation is ongoing. Investigators do not believe Farooqui had any connection to the victims, according to police.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witnesses Say They Heard Farooqui Yell ‘Allahu Akbar’ Before the Attack
Witnesses said they heard Wasil Farooqui yell “Allahu akbar,” during the attack, Roanoke County Police said in a statement.
The phrase translates to “God is great.”
The county police notified the FBI after learning that detail and a terrorism investigation was launched.
Police said they were called to The Pines Apartments in the 4300 block of Banbury Lane Saturday night just before 8 p.m. after a 911 caller reported a man and woman were attacked as they were entering the apartment building.
The victims were both “severely injured,” police said in the statement.
No further details about the incident have been released.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Roanoke County Police Department at 540-562-3265.
2. He Was Known to Federal Authorities & Traveled to Turkey, Possibly Attempting to Cross Into Syria, Sources Told ABC
Farooqui was known to federal authorities for “some time,” sources told ABC News.
He traveled to Turkey in the past year, and may have tried to cross over into Syria, where ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, has several strongholds. ISIS recruiters have often tried to recruit westerners to come to Syria and the FBI has arrested several Americans who have tried to travel there.
A U.S. intelligence source told CBS News that Farooqui has “been on the FBI’s radar for months.” He is believed to be self-radicalized, CBS reports. It was the attempted trip to Syria that alerted the FBI to him, the source said.
Online jail records state that Farooqui was born in the United States and is a citizen, but authorities told CBS News they are not sure if he is a citizen.
3. Farooqui Was Arrested at the Same Hospital Emergency Room Where the Victims Were Taken After They Fought Him Off
Farooqui was also injured during the incident, Roanoke County Police said in a statement. It is not clear how he was wounded.
He was arrested Sunday night after going to the same emergency room that the victims were taken to, police said.
“He met the description of the suspect in the stabbing,” police said. “Further investigation by police led to the arrest of Mr. Farooqui.”
4. The FBI Is Continuing to Investigate the Possible Ties to ISIS
The FBI confirmed it is investigating the possible ties to ISIS and terrorism, but did not release other details.
“The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening,” Adam Lee, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, said in a statement. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident.”
In propaganda videos, ISIS has called for its sympathizers to carry out attacks around the world in their name.
5. He Is Being Held Without Bail on 2 Assault Charges
Farooqui is being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond, according to online jail records.
He is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding with the victim permanently impaired, according to the records.
Farooqui is set to appear in court September 1.