The airport police officer stabbing at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan is being investigated as a possible act of terrorism, the FBI said. The victim, identified as Lieutenant Jeff Neville, is in stable condition. The suspect is in custody.
NBC News reports that Federal investigators are already on the scene. The suspect was born in Canada. Sources told NBC News that the suspect was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great” in Arabic, before stabbing the officer.
The FBI later confirmed in a press conference that the incident is being investigated as an act of terror. The FBI said they do believe it is an “isolated incident,” as they have seen no further evidence of further plots in Flint.
Neville has been working in law enforcement for over three decades and was previously a Deputy Sheriff for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.
The White House has said that President Donald Trump was briefed on the stabbing.
Here’s what you need to know about the incident and the victim. This is breaking news and will continue to be updated.
1. Neville Was Reportedly Attacked From Behind
Sources told ABC12 that Neville was stabbed in the neck by a suspect who used a large knife, described as similar to a Bowie knife. According to the sources, he was standing at the top of the escalators at his station when he was attacked from behind.
The airport first announced on Facebook that there was an “incident” at around 10:00 a.m. ET. “All passengers are safe and are being evacuated at this time. Please check with your airline for potential cancellations or delays. We will release more information as we have it,” the statement read.
Witness Ken Brown told MLive.com that he saw the officer “on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck.”
MLive.com adds that there were over 20 vehicles from the Flint and Burton police departments, joined by State Police.
In a statement, the FBI confirmed that the suspect is in custody and is being questioned by police. At this time, it’s too early to determine if the incident is terrorism-related.
2. He’s Now Listed in Stable Condition at a Nearby Hospital
The Associated Press reports that authorities confirmed that Neville was in “critical condition” at a nearby hospital.
Flint officials said the city hall is “operating under heightened security” out of an “abundance of caution.” City Hall is still open for business, though.
“Right now we are still awaiting more information about the situation at Bishop Airport this morning,” Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with all of our law enforcement officers who work to service and protect us each and every day. I want the public to know that several agencies are involved and working to ensure the situation is under control. However, at this time we are taking extra precautions just to be safe.”
3. The Suspect Reportedly Yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ Before Stabbing Neville
NBC News reported on Twitter that federal authorities are on the scene. Multiple sources told the network that it is being investigated as a “possible act of terrorism.”
The suspect, whose name has not been released, was apprehended. The suspect was born in Canada and shouted “Allahu Akbar” before stabbing Neville.
NBC News reports that the FBI is now leading the investigation.
In a statement, the FBI said it is aware of reports that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” before stabbing Neville, but “it is too early to determine the nature of these alleged statements or whether or not this was an act of terrorism.” They do believe it is an isolated incident.
Later, The FBI confirmed that they are investigating the stabbing as an act of terror.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder asked for “thoughts and prayers” for Neville on Twitter.
4. The Airport Was Evacuated Earlier This Month Because of a Suspicious Package
After the stabbing, the airport was evacuated, WXYZ reported. ABC12 adds that there were around 100 people on the sidewalk outside the terminal at the time of the stabbing. Travelers are urged to check with thier airlines to see if their flights have been delayed or cancelled.
This is the second time this month that the airport had to be evacuated.
As MLive.com reported on June 8, a suspicious package forced an evacuation at the terminal and the bomb squad was called.
“It was because of a suspicious bag,” Airport Director Craig Williams told MLive.com. “We don’t know if was an unattended bag or a report (of a bag). We, in an abundance of caution, have evacuated the terminal.”
In that incident, it was later detirmined that there was nothing dangerous about the bag.
5. Neville Has Been Working at the Airport Since 2001
According to Neville’s LinkedIn page, he has been working for the Bishop International Airport Authority since 2001. In 2006, he was promoted to lieutenant.
Before that, Neville was a deputy sheriff for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department for 17 years, from 1982 to 1999, when he retired. He earned a degree from Criminal Justice CS Mott Community College and went through basic training at Delta College.
“I’m a retired Genesee County MI. Sheriff Department Lieutenant. I joined the force at Bishop Airport in Flint MI. in 2001 and became the Police Lieutenant here in 2006,” Neville’s LinkedIn page reads. “I am responsible for supervising the day to day law enforcement operations at the airport, which is currently the 3rd busiest airport in Michigan.”
Genesee County Commissioner Mark Young told MLive.com that Neville is an “honorable man.” He said he met with Neville’s family at the hospital.
“As expected, they are shook up. They are concerned,” Young said.
Neville’s Facebook page shows that he has a son and daughter, as well as a sister.
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