Dahir Ahmed Adan, the Minnesota mall attacker, was a recent college student who worked part time as a private security guard. He was said to be an honour student in high school. And he had nothing more than a minor traffic citation on his record.
On Saturday Adan attacked a central Minnesota mall with a kitchen knife and injured 10 people before he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer, reports AP.
Those who know Adan, 20, say he was a calm, cool guy with a good head on his shoulders. They are trying to come to terms with what happened and figure out what pushed him to violence.
"We have a thirst for answers," said Abdul Kulane, a community advocate in the St. Cloud area. "What was his motivation? What happened?"
Authorities have released little information about Adan but say they are investigating the attacks as a potential act of terrorism. An Islamic State-run news agency claimed the attacker was a "soldier" for the group.
One victim, Ryan Schliep, told WCCO-TV that Adan "just walked right at me" before quickly stabbing Schliep in the head.
"He looked just blank in the eyes like he wasn't even there," Schliep said.
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson has said the man reportedly made at least one reference to Allah and asked a victim if he or she was Muslim before attacking.
Jama Alimad, a Somali community advocate and friend of the family, told the Star Tribune that Adan was more into sports than religion, describing him as "the most assimilated kid in the neighbourhood."
"He was an A student. He was a tutor. He was employed," Alimad told the newspaper.
A spokesman for the family, Abdi Wahid Osman, read from a statement expressing condolences for the injured and anyone else who was impacted.
"As we mourn the death of our son, Dahir Adan, who was very dear to us, we are in deep shock as everyone else is in the state of Minnesota," the statement said.
Adan had recently been employed part-time by the security firm Securitas, and he was assigned for a few months to an Electrolux factory near the mall, Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale said. A statement from Securitas said he resigned from the company in June.
A spokesman for St. Cloud State University confirmed Adan was a student majoring in information systems, but hadn't been enrolled since the spring semester.
Anderson said the attacker began stabbing people right after entering the mall. The victims included eight men, one woman and a 15-year-old girl. - IH