The hero off-duty police officer who shot and killed the St. Cloud mall stabber is a firearms trainer and concealed carry advocate who owns a gun range.
Jason Falconer (on right in red in the top photo) was identified by Minnesota newspapers as the off-duty police officer who shot and killed Dahir Adan, a Somali immigrant who entered Crossroads Center Shopping Mall on September 17 with a knife and stabbed nine people.
However, authorities have not officially identified the suspect; The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says Adan’s father identified him as the suspect and search warrants were conducted at his apartment, and The St. Cloud Times says Somali community leaders ID’d Adan as the stabber too.
“His (Falconer’s) goal is to teach individuals the mindset, knowledge and skills needed to be successful with firearms in order to secure their personal safety or that of their family, at home or in public,” Falconer’s company website says.
Falconer was hailed as a hero in a news conference by St. Cloud’s mayor. Falconer was identified in a press conference on the afternoon of September 18.
All of the stabbing victims are expected to survive. Falconer, who was off duty and is a former small-town police chief, shot and killed the suspect in a dramatic confrontation inside the mall.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Falconer Is a Concealed Carry Advocate & Firearms Trainer
Falconer owns a company in Minnesota called Tactical Advantage; its website says the company “is a full-service range with range rental, range gun rental, retail sales, limited gunsmith service and stellar training.”
According to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Falconer is “a firearms trainer and permit to carry advocate.”
Falconer’s biography on his company website says, “Jason Falconer is President/Owner of Tactical Advantage Firearms Training, Inc. which has been operating since 2003. Tactical Advantage currently concentrates on firearms training for individuals in a group or private setting, including permit to carry training in MN. Jason has also created advanced and customized classes for individuals who desire more advanced safety training. His business has grown primarily through student referrals, and Jason takes pride in providing the best training options available in Central MN.”
The St. Cloud Times reported in 2014 that the company was “created by former Albany police chief Jason Falconer in 2003 primarily because of the Minnesota Personal Protection Act that sent thousands of people in search of firearms certification.”
In a news conference about midnight on September 17, the chief, Blair Anderson had said the suspect, Adan, referenced Allah and asked at least one victim whether he was a Muslim before stabbing nine people and being killed by Falconer.
2. Falconer Is a Former Police Chief & Current Part-Time Police Officer
Falconer’s company biography says he “has a law enforcement background and is the former Police Chief of the Albany Police Department. Jason also serves as the department’s firearms instructor, and has created POST Board approved firearms training curriculum. He currently serves as a part-time officer with the City of Albany.”
However, Minnesota Public Radio said Falconer is currently a police officer with Avon PD. The station says that Falconer was shopping when the stabbing attack broke out.
According to The St. Cloud Times, Falconer shot and killed the mall stabber, Adan, in a Macy’s store, the newspaper said.
Falconer’s biography also says that, since 2008, he has assisted with “St. Cloud State University skills training in the disciplines of decision shooting and dynamic entry”; the St. Cloud Times says Adan attended that university.
The biography says Falconer “believes that although civilian and law enforcement students can obtain great firearms training from various sources, they are missing a key component in their personal safety training without going through reality based training.”
3. ISIS Has Claimed Responsibility for the Stabbing Attack, Which Is Being Investigated as Terrorism
The news agency for ISIS has released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. However, whether the attack is terrorism is still under investigation.
“The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” said the statement by Amaq Agency, the news agency for ISIS.
The FBI is calling the Minnesota stabbings a possible “act of terrorism,” according to The Associated Press.
4. Falconer Was Hailed as a Hero Who Saved Lives
“I want to recognize the individual off-duty police officer who eliminated the threat, and took down the suspect,” said St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, adding that Falconer “clearly prevented additional injuries and potentially loss of life.”
Falconer has kept a low profile since the attack; he told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “I’ve been trying to stay away from it all, for the time being.”
The mayor said that Falconer identified himself as a police officer to Adan, who then lunged at him, saying that Falconer is a hero and “happened to be in the right place at the right time,” according to The St. Cloud Times.
5. Falconer’s Confrontation With the Attacker Was Captured on Mall Surveillance Video
The St. Cloud mayor said Falconer’s “life was clearly in danger,” according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which described a dramatic confrontation inside the mall as surveillance video “shows the officer shooting, and the suspect falling and getting back up three times, and at one point lunging toward Falconer.”
“None of us ever want to have to do that,” said St. Cloud police chief William Blair Anderson, according to Minnesota Public Radio, “but that’s what we’re here for, and Officer Falconer’s actions were swift and direct, and in my opinion appropriate.”