Police officer stabbed in neck at MI airport

Frederick Owens
June 27, 2017

A 49-year-old Montreal resident, suspected of stabbing a police officer at a MI airport, tried and failed to buy a gun before purchasing the knife allegedly used in the attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of MI says Amor Ftouhi illegally entered the U.S. from Canada on June 16 at Lake Champlain, New York.

The injured officer was Mr Jeff Neville, a 16-year veteran of the airport police force.

David Koelzer, the attorney who represented the accused, said he previously read out the complaint to Ftouhi, who also had a hard copy of the document in which the charge of committing violence at an global airport was outlined.

He also says investigators believed Ftouhi is a "lone wolf" attacker. They said Ftouhi yelled "Allahu Akbar", meaning "God is great" in Arabic, pulled out a large knife and stabbed Neville in the neck in a public area of the airport around 9:45 a.m.

Canadian authorities are assisting USA authorities by conducting their own investigation on Ftouhi, who resided in Canada.

Ftouhi indicated to court officials that he has lived in Canada for 10 years and has three children.

He legally entered the USA through NY on June 16.

He attempted to buy a gun in the Flint area sometime within the last week but was denied because he's not a USA citizen, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday.

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The suspect was made to wear a spit-guard face mask after spitting in the face of a Flint police officer, according to a law enforcement official. But Flint's airport is called Bishop International Airport.

More charges against Ftouhi could be filed as prosecutors take the case to a grand jury seeking an indictment, Gelios said.

During a court hearing on Wednesday, it was learned that Ftouhi is from Tunisia and several family members still reside there.

"I can say that the knife was purchased in the United States, somewhere along his trip from New York", Gelios said. The charge now pending against him could put him in jail for up to 20 years.

A Congressional source tells WXYZ that Ftouhi was turned away from buying a gun because of his citizenship.

The airport's police chief told AP that Neville "fought him to the end" and brought Ftouhi to the ground as other officers arrived. The director of the airport stated he was "doing very well" on Thursday.

"During the attack Wednesday, officials said Ftouhi said something similar to, 'You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and we are all going to die", a court document shows.

"Yes, I tell the truth", Ftouhi responded.

A man described as a quiet and kind, Ftouhi's suspected sinister actions underline how hard it is to pinpoint aspiring terrorists, Deparice-Okomba said.

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