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Stabbing suspect had gone to mall to buy an iPhone, source says

Monday September 19, 2016

Dahir Adan had been in a "joyful" and "happy" mood on Saturday before he went to a St. Cloud, Minnesota, mall to buy a phone, a community leader told CNN on Monday.Adan, a private security firm employee with a good reputation in St. Cloud's Somali community, was intent on purchasing the newly released iPhone 7, according to Haji Yussuf, a local Somali community leader who has been in contact with the man's family.

Adan, 22, is suspected of storming the mall and stabbing nine people Saturday night before he was shot dead by an off-duty police officer. Earlier, two Somali community leaders in contact with the man's family told CNN that Adan had been acting strangely before the incident. Details about Adan and the incident began to emerge Monday as authorities worked to piece together the suspect's background and pinpoint his motive, St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson told reporters."We are trying to find everything," Anderson said. "I want to know everything about this man, from the day he was born until last Saturday."

Federal law enforcement sources and Somali community leaders identified Adan on Monday. An ISIS-linked news agency praised him as a "soldier of the Islamic state." CNN hasn't independently verified the claim, and on Monday, authorities maintained that the suspect appeared to have acted alone. "We haven't uncovered anything that would suggest this was anything but a lone attacker at this point," Anderson told reporters. The FBI is calling the attack "a potential act of terrorism." But no evidence has been found tying the suspect directly to terror groups, the police chief said.

A portrait of the stabbing suspect

Adan had a stellar reputation in St. Cloud's close-knit Somali community, said Yussuf, who is a director at #unitedcloud, a group that works to resolve tensions in St. Cloud. Yussuf called him a "very exceptional young man" who loved his family and respected his community. He was an 'exceptional student" and "very smart," he said."We're all trying to find answers as to what happened," Yussuf said. "The family is very frustrated about this, very sad."

Yussuf said family members want to see the footage of the incident, in which the suspect was said to have lunged at people before he was shot. Yussuf praised law enforcement, saying it is doing an "amazing job" trying to get to the bottom of the case. But he finds any link between ISIS and Adan hard to believe and at this point, he asserts, there is no connection. "The idea that people like ISIS will claim this responsibility for us is ridiculous," he said.


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