New details about Amor Ftouhi, accused of stabbing a police officer at the Flint, Michigan, airport on Wednesday, offer little clarity about why he traveled to the U.S. from Canada and allegedly targeted the law enforcement official.
Born in Tunisia, he’s lived in Montreal for the last 10 years, according to audio of his initial court appearance Wednesday. According to information he gave to a pre-trial services official, he speaks minimal English and is fluent in French. His mother and several siblings still live in Tunisia and he has a sister in Switzerland. He is married with three children and was working on and off as a truck driver.
Ftouhi didn’t cite any problems with drug or alcohol use, or claim any mental or physical health issues, the pre-trial official said.
“He’s a good person, very quiet,” his landlord, Luciano Piazza, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “I’ve never had any problems with him.”
He attempted to buy a gun in the Flint area sometime within the last week but was denied because he’s not a U.S. citizen, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday. Authorities believe he was “self-radicalized,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) told the cable news network.
Ftouhi entered the country on June 16 and ended up at the Bishop International Airport on Wednesday morning, authorities said Wednesday. He allegedly spent time in both an airport restaurant and bathroom ― where he brought several bags ― and then allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed airport police officer Lt. Jeff Neville in the neck.
He yelled “Allahu Akbar” and something akin to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,” according to the criminal complaint filed against him. Neville subdued Ftouhi, who allegedly asked why the officier didn’t kill him.
Authorities labeled the stabbing an act of terrorism. Neville is in stable condition after undergoing surgery, a Michigan state police spokeswoman told HuffPost.
Ftouhi will remain in jail pending a full detention hearing next Wednesday.