FLINT, Mich. – Amor Ftouhi had another outburst Wednesday during a preliminary examination in federal court after he allegedly stabbed an officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint.
Airport police Lt. Jeff Neville was stabbed in his neck while on duty June 21. Federal investigators say Ftouhi used a 12-inch knife with a green handle and a black 8-inch serrated blade. It was marked Amazon Jungle Survival Knife, officials said.
The attack, which the FBI quickly called an act of terror, happened on the second floor of the airport. Federal agents said during the attack Ftouhi referenced killings in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and yelled, "Allahu Akbar."
Ftouhi yelled "Allahu Akbar" three times as he entered court Wednesday, but then he stood mute as the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
You can listen to the court proceedings in the audio file posted below.
If convicted, Ftouhi could face life in prison.
Ftouhi was arrested and charged with committing an act of violence at an international airport. Further charges may be pending based on a grand jury's decision. He will go before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis on Wednesday. Court is scheduled to being at 1:30 p.m. He is being held at the Midland County Jail.
"Lt. Neville never stopped fighting until I handcuffed this person, along with Lt. Neville, Lt. Dan Owens and maintenance person, Richard Cruell," said Chief Chris Miller, of the Bishop International Airport Public Safety Department. "The four of us were able to subdue this person, get him handcuffed and get him under control."
Owens witnessed the attack.
"We were here setting up for a meeting with our public safety partners in our county," Owens said. "I was about 10, 15 feet away when I witnessed the attack. Myself and Chief Miller responded to it fairly quickly. ... He's a good friend of mine. It was very terrifying to see something that quick and luckily we were a very, very close distance to respond."
Airport officer recovers from injuries
Neville was transported to the hospital that day in critical condition. He underwent surgeries and has been released from the hospital.
Neville has worked with the airport authority since 2006 and as a police officer at Bishop International Airport since 2001.
"This didn't happen to me because I'm Jeff Neville. This happened to me because I represented law and order, and I represented the United States of America, and evidently that wasn't a good thing to that person on that day," said Neville. "He doesn't know me, or he never would have attacked me. I'm a likeable guy. I help everybody -- that's what I try to do."
Watch the full interview with Neville in Fenton:
Ftouhi arrived in Flint that day
Officials said Ftouhi, 49, entered the United States legally from Canada. He was living in Montreal, but entered the U.S. on June 16 in New York.
It's unclear why Ftouhi made his way to Flint, but around 9 a.m. June 21 he entered the Bishop International Airport with a red duffel bag and a dark satchel, went up to the second level, set his bags down in the bathroom and stabbed the officer.
"He spent a little time in the restroom, dropped both bags and came out," FBI special agent David Gelios said. "He pulled out a knife, yelled, 'Allahu Akbar,' and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck."
According to federal officials, Frouhi continued to yell "Allah" several times after the attack, and then said something like, "You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die."
A law enforcement officer nearby saw the attack and got to Ftouhi before he could harm more people. Officials said Ftouhi "asked the officer why he didn't kill him."