Bishop International Airport incident

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Bishop International Airport incident
Part of Terrorism in the United States
Location Bishop International Airport
3425 W. Bristol Rd.
Flint, Michigan 48507
Date June 21, 2017
9:45 am (Eastern)
Attack type
Stabbing
Weapons Knife
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries
2
Victims Lt. Jeff Neville
Richard Krul
Suspected perpetrator
Amor Ftouhi
Motive Jihadism inspired by Al-Qaeda
Charges Violence at an international airport
Interfering with airport security
Committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries

On June 21, 2017, airport police Lt. Jeff Neville was stabbed in the neck at Bishop International Airport in the US city of Flint, Michigan. The main suspect, Amor Ftouhi, reportedly yelled "Allahu akbar" during the attack and was travelling on a Canadian passport.[1] The airport was evacuated and searched by bomb sniffing dogs, who found nothing. He was charged with violence at an international airport and interfering with airport security.[2]He was later charged with committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.[3]

Suspect and trial[edit]

The suspect is Amor Ftouhi, a truck driver born in Tunisia in 1968 who lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and entered the U.S. on June 16, 2017 in Champlain, New York. He is a dual citizen of Tunisia and Canada.[1][4][5] The FBI Agent in charge told reporters Ftouhi also said something to the effect of, “You have killed people in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and we’re all going to die.” He also called him a lone wolf. Ftouhi also reportedly asked police why they didn't kill him.[1][4] He was federally charged with violence at an international airport, which if convicted could result in 20 years in prison, and was cooperating with investigators.[6][7] The weapon was described as a 12-inch knife that had an 8-inch serrated blade labelled as an "Amazon Survival Jungle".[6][8] The FBI later told reporters Ftouhi twice tried and failed to buy a gun in Michigan, once on June 18, and then on the day of the attack.[6]

Canadian law enforcement agencies also raided his apartment in Montreal and questioned three people there.[9]

Friends and associates described Amor Ftouhi as "a quiet guy" and "a nice person" who was "socially positive."[9]

On July 5, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Ftouhi for interference with airport security. If convicted, he could face life in prison.[2]

Court documents say Ftouhi told investigators he had planned to kill a police officer and then take the officer's gun to kill more officers. The documents also revealed Ftouhi subscribed to the ideology of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and that he celebrated the attacks of September 11, 2001. He also said that he considers the U.S. an enemy of Allah and that others like him would be coming to harm the country.[10][11]

Ftouhi returned to court for a plea hearing on May 23, 2018. His trial began on July 30, 2018.[12]

On March 21, 2018, Ftouhi was charged with committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.[3]

On September 6, 2018, a request by Ftouhi's lawyer to move the trial location from Flint to Detroit due to their concern that pre-trial publicity would bias the potential jurors was denied.[13]

Victims[edit]

Bishop International Airport Authority Police Lieutenant Jeff Neville (also a retired Genesee County Sheriff's deputy) was stabbed in the neck.[4] After undergoing surgery, his condition was upgraded from critical to stable.[9] On June 26, 2017 he was discharged from the hospital.[14]

Airport maintenance worker Richard Krul was cut on the hand while attempting to subdue Ftouhi.[15]

Responses[edit]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement about the incident: “I want to assure all our law enforcement across the nation, any attack on someone who serves and protects our citizens will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I am proud of the swift response from the F.B.I. and our federal prosecutors and their partnership with local police and the Canadian authorities. Our prayers are with the officer and his family for a full recovery.”[16][9]

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a "heinous and cowardly attack."[9]

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reacted with a series of tweets: "Even with this attack, we must continue to balance our need for increased security with understanding and tolerance".[17] "I want to thank all law enforcement officers and first responders who assisted at the scene today." [18] "I am heartened to hear that Lt. Jeff Neville is expected to make a full recovery."[19]

Lt. Neville was honored at the Fenton Fourth of July Parade where he spoke about the incident publicly for the first time, telling reporters, "That guy was up against more than what he thought he was up against, you know. Really. He picked the wrong airport."[20]

The Flint Islamic Center gave Lt. Neville a check for $10,000 after a prayer service at the airport, while saying about Ftouhi, "He is against our Islam, against our principal, against all values that we hold."[21]

Lt. Neville was also honored by the American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers of New York and New Jersey.[22]

Airport maintenance worker Richard Krul, who helped restrain Ftouhi and was cut on the hand, was also given awards for his actions.[15][23]

On March 12, 2018, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners honored Chief Christopher Miller, Lieutenant Dan Owen, Officer Chris Curnow, airport employee Richard Krul and Joe Garza for their efforts after the attack.[24]

On March 24, 2018, airport firefighters Lt. Daniel Owen, Michael Chilson, and Christopher Tolan were named firefighters of the year by the Genesee County Association of Fire Chiefs for their lifesaving efforts after the attack.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Flint airport stabbing under FBI terrorism investigation". RT International. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Goodin-Smith, Oona (July 5, 2017). "New Charges Against Flint Bishop Airport Stabbing Suspect May Mean Life in Prison". The Flint Journal. 
  3. ^ a b Acosta, Roberto (March 21, 2018). "Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Facing New Terrorism Charge". The Flint Journal. 
  4. ^ a b c ABC12 News Team (June 21, 2017). "Stabbing at Bishop Airport Being Investigated as Act of Terrorism, One Person in Custody". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. 
  5. ^ Woods, Allan. "Canadian man charged after possible terror attack at Michigan airport, FBI says". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Goodin-Smith, Oona (June 22, 2017). "Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried to Buy Gun in Michigan Before Attack". The Flint Journal. 
  7. ^ Goodin-Smith, Oona (June 21, 2017). "What We Know About Amor Ftouhi, Flint Bishop Airport Stabbing Suspect". The Flint Journal. 
  8. ^ Karoub, Jeff; Householder, Mike (June 21, 2017). "Canadian C in US Airport Attack Investigated as Terror". Fox News. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Friends, Neighbours Describe Montreal Man Accused of Flint Stabbing as Gentle, Quiet". CTV Montreal. June 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ Bondy, Dave (August 7, 2017). "Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Told Investigators He Wanted to Kill More Officers". Saginaw, MI: WEYI-TV. 
  11. ^ Williams, Corey (August 9, 2017). "Prosecutors: Flint Airport Stabber Amor Ftouhi Celebrated 9/11 Attacks". Toronto Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Trial in Bishop International Airport Stabbing Put Off Until July 30". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. Associated Press. November 6, 2017. 
  13. ^ Judge denies change of venue for accused airport stabber The Flint Journal via MLive.com, September 6, 2018
  14. ^ Fonger, Ron (June 26, 2017). "Cop Attacked with Knife at Flint Bishop Airport Discharged from Hospital". The Flint Journal. 
  15. ^ a b Acosta, Roberto (August 2, 2017). "Maintenance Worker Honored for Actions During Flint Airport Stabbing". The Flint Journal. 
  16. ^ Hartmann, Margaret (June 21, 2017). "Flint, Michigan Airport Stabbing Investigated as Act of Terrorism". New York. 
  17. ^ Snyder, Rick [@onetoughnerd] (June 21, 2017). "Even with this attack, we must continue to balance our need for increased security with understanding and tolerance" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  18. ^ Snyder, Rick [@onetoughnerd] (June 21, 2017). "I want to thank all law enforcement officers and first responders who assisted at the scene today" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  19. ^ Snyder, Rick [@onetoughnerd] (June 21, 2017). "I am heartened to hear that Lt. Jeff Neville is expected to make a full recovery" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  20. ^ Ramey, Elisse (July 4, 2017). "Lt. Jeff Neville: Airport Attacker 'Picked the Wrong Airport'". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. 
  21. ^ Hybels, Amy (July 7, 2017). "Flint Islamic Center Presents Lt. Jeff Neville with Check for $10,000 Following Friday Prayers". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. 
  22. ^ ABC12 News Team (July 6, 2017). "American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers of New York and New Jersey Honor Lt. Jeff Neville". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. 
  23. ^ ABC12 News Team (October 24, 2017). "Airport Employee Honored for His Heroism After Lt. Neville Attack". Flint, MI: WJRT-TV. 
  24. ^ NBC25/FOX66 Newsroom (March 12, 2018). "Genesee County Board Honors Heroes of Bishop Airport Attack". Saginaw, MI: WEYI-TV. 
  25. ^ Acosta, Roberto (March 28, 2018). "3 firefighters awarded for life-saving efforts in Bishop Airport stabbing". The Flint Journal. Retrieved March 30, 2018.