FLINT, Mich. - Urgent calls for help were made Wednesday morning after an attack surprised everyone inside Bishop International Airport.
The airport alert quickly surprised everyone across the state of Michigan as news developed about an officer being stabbed. Police Lt. Jeff Neville was not only stabbed in his neck but also from behind. There is a chance he didn't see this attack coming.
Genesee County EMS dispatcher: "Second floor inside the terminal, we got an officer down. It sounds like a stabbing to the neck."
The FBI quickly started calling this an act of terror.
"We are investigating this incident at 9:45 this morning as an act of terrorism," said special agent David Gelios, FBI Detroit Division.
Court records show 50-year-old Amor Ftouhi entering the airport at 8:52 a.m. Wednesday with a red duffel bag and dark satchel bag. At 9:10 a.m. Ftouhi went into a 2nd floor restaurant. Then, 27 minutes later, he leaves with both bags.
Then in a matter of 60 seconds he allegedly attacked the police lieutenant from behind.
"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 said he 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."
Neville was rushed to a hospital where he is now listed in stable condition.
Federal investigators said during the attack Ftouhi yelled "Allah" several times, and also said something similar to "you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die."
Ftouhi used a 12-inch knife with a green handle and a black 8-inch serrated blade, officials said. It was marked Amazon Jungle Survival Knife, officials said.
The bags he was carrying were left in a restroom prior to the attack. Investigators would not discuss what was inside the bags.
Who is Amor Ftouhi?
Ftouhi is from Montreal. Soon after police identified him as the attacker the FBI contact Canadian officials, who then surrounded his apartment.
Canadian officers went inside the unit hoping to discover why he chose to attack an officer in Flint, and if he did anything suspicious along the way.
Court records show Ftouhi left Canada this past Friday, June 16 and crossed into the United States from Quebec through the state of New York. He then traveled close to 500 miles through Pennsylvania and Ohio before parking at Flint's airport.
That's a more than 10-hour drive. Investigators are trying to determine if he made any stops along the way. Did he meet anyone and was he acting alone?
Ftouhi is charged with committing an act of violence at an international airport, FBI agents said. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Published reports say Ftouhi talked to few people and kept to himself. He is father to several children.
What Canadian investigators found at his apartment is unclear. However, what happened at Bishop International has reignited an old conversation: Can airports be safer? Should security checkpoints be moved? Prior to TSA screening airports are public places.
Steve Dolunt is a retired assistant Detroit police chief. He said there are valid concerns but right now everyone should be more aware and patient with the current systems in place.
"It only takes one person who is an extremist, or has mental issues, to try to kill a bunch of innocent people. So, yes it may bother you that you have to wait longer in line to board ... it's for your own safety," said Dolunt.
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