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Flint airport stabbing suspect tried to buy gun in Mt. Clemens before attack

Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before AttackFlint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before Attack

DETROIT (WJBK) – Amor Ftouhi, the Canadian accused of stabbing an airport security officer in Flint, tried to buy a gun at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens shortly after arriving in the U.S. on Friday, FOX 2 has learned.

The FBI said that Ftouhi entered the country legally last week through Lake Champlain in Upstate New York. The Quebec resident then made his way to Michigan, where FOX 2 learned he visited the Gibraltar Trade Center and tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun.

Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi[1]

The Gibralter Trade Center is a massive indoor marketplace where guns and knives are among the many items for sale by vendors who rent space. The last show was this weekend and it’s not clear whether Ftouhi visited the trade center on Saturday or Sunday. He reportedly told the FBI that after his attempt to buy a gun failed he bought the knife he used to stab Lt. Jeff Neville at Bishop International Airport in Flint on Wednesday morning. During a press conference on Thursday, the FBI confirmed that Ftouhi tried to buy a gun in the U.S. but would not say where he tried to purchase the weapon.

Ftouhi was rejected early in the process because he is not a U.S. citizen. FBI agent Thomas Sondgeroth wrote in a criminal complaint filed against Ftouhi in federal court that Ftouhi used an “Amazon Jungle Survival Knife” to stab Neville.

Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack[2]

After interviewing a law enforcement officer who witnessed the attack and an FBI agent who reviewed surveillance video, Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi entered the airport around 8:50 a.m. carrying two bags, went to a second-floor restaurant around 9:10 a.m., left the restaurant about 30 minutes later and entered a restroom, where he left his bags. Less than a minute later, he emerged yelling “Allahu Akbar,” and stabbing Neville, Sondgeroth’s report said. Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi “continued to yell ‘Allah’ several times. He further exclaimed something similar to ‘you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.’ “

Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill[3]

After officers subdued Ftouhi, he asked them why they did not kill him.

Neville survived the attack and Ftouhi was charged with violence at an international airport. He is in federal custody and faces a detention hearing Wednesday.

Contact M.L. Elrick at [4] or 248-552-5261.

References

  1. ^ Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi (www.fox2detroit.com)
  2. ^ Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack (www.fox2detroit.com)
  3. ^ Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill (www.fox2detroit.com)
  4. ^

Suspect in Flint airport stabbing attempted gun purchase, official says

Amor Ftouhi, suspected of stabbing a police officer Wednesday at a Michigan airport in what is being called a terror attack, traveled into the US legally by car at Lake Champlain, New York, on Friday and appeared to have been in Michigan as early as Sunday, David Gelios, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI division, said. Ftouhi, 49, a citizen of Canada and Tunisia, has been charged with violence at an international airport, officials said.

[Previous story, posted at 3:26 p.m. ET]

The man accused of stabbing a police officer at a Michigan airport was denied a gun purchase in the Flint area within the last five days because he’s not from the United States, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday. Amor Ftouhi, 49, a citizen of Canada and Tunisia, has been charged with violence at an international airport, officials said. The FBI is investigating Wednesday’s stabbing at Flint’s Bishop International Airport as a terrorist act. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul confirmed the attempted gun purchase and said authorities believe Ftouhi was “self-radicalized.”

“I don’t think he was on anyone’s radar screen, but we do know he traveled from Canada to New York to Michigan,” McCaul told CNN.

The Texas Republican said, “What I think the significance of that is you have someone coming across the northern border from Canada into the United States to try and kill police officers in the homeland.”

Authorities said Ftouhi yelled “Allahu akbar” — “God is greatest” in Arabic — and pulled a roughly 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade and stabbed Lt. Jeff Neville, who is in stable condition.

Suspect not on US or Canadian radar

The suspect was made to wear a spit-guard face mask after spitting in the face of a Flint police officer, according to a law enforcement official. New details emerged about the suspect at his initial court appearance. He was ordered to remain in custody pending a full detention hearing next week. Ftouhi was born in Tunisia and has lived in Montreal for 10 years, according to a pretrial services officer at his hearing. He is married with three children and worked on and off as a truck driver until about two weeks ago. His mother, three sisters and two brothers live in Tunisia; another sister resides in Switzerland.

Ftouhi understands and speaks some English, but is mostly fluent in French.

“My first name is Amor and my last name is Ftouhi,” he told the court. US Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis assigned a federal public defender to represent the suspect. When she asked Ftouhi whether the information on his financial affidavit was truthful, he responded: “Yes, I tell the truth.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly described Ftouhi as a “completely off-the-screen individual” and likened the airport stabbing to random terrorist attacks in Europe in recent months. A law enforcement source told CNN that Ftouhi was not on the radar of US or Canadian authorities but said they were trying to determine whether he used an alias.

The Canadian Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness condemned what it called a “heinous and cowardly attack.”

Ftouhi could face up to 20 years in prison and more charges could be added, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Ftouhi had an attorney.

The attack

On Wednesday morning, Ftouhi arrived at the Flint airport carrying two bags. For about 40 minutes he lingered in the airport’s public areas — including a restaurant and a bathroom, where he dropped his bags — before the attack, a criminal complaint said. After stabbing Neville, Ftouhi continued to yell “Allah” several times, followed by something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,” the complaint said.

“Lt. Neville got him to stop stabbing him,” said Chief Chris Miller of the Bishop Airport Safety Division, who was nearby and able to handcuff Ftouhi. An FBI special agent said Ftouhi then asked the officer why he did not kill him, the complaint said.

Neville was “doing very well,” airport Director Craig WIlliams said Thursday. He has worked at the airport since 2001, rising to the rank of lieutenant in 2006.

“He’s a great guy,” Williams told reporters. “He’s well-loved by everybody just for his personality, his professionalism. He treats everybody with respect.”

Genesee County District 5 Commissioner Mark Young said he spoke with Neville and his family at the hospital.

“He was talking and communicating well, but in quite a bit of pain following the surgery … (he) seems to be doing well,” he said. Neville retired from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office after 20 years on the job, Young said. A airport maintenance worker who was speaking with Neville suffered arm injuries while helping to subdue the suspect. The employee was taken to the hospital and was later released.

“I’m not afraid to say I think he saved Jeff’s life,” Williams said. “He jumped up there and did something that is courageous.”

Suspect’s Montreal residence searched

Ftouhi entered the United States legally Friday in Lake Champlain, New York, FBI Special Agent David Gelios said. A US official told CNN that preliminary information appears to show Ftouhi traveled between the United States and Canada multiple times.

On Wednesday, police searched Ftouhi’s apartment in Montreal, CBC News reported. Luciano Piazza, the building’s owner and landlord, said Ftouhi moved into the apartment with his wife and children five years ago.

“He’s a good person, very quiet. I’ve never had any problems with him,” Piazza told CBC News.

‘We view him as a lone-wolf attacker’

Fthoui seemed to have acted alone and had no specialized training, officials said.

“Time will tell over the next several days whether anyone had any knowledge of this, but at this time we view him as a lone-wolf attacker,” Gelios said. “We have no information to suggest a wider plot.”

Authorities interviewed Fthoui extensively after the attack and said the stabbing appears to have targeted law enforcement.

“I think it’s sufficient to say he has a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things, which in part motivated him toward coming to the airport (Wednesday) to conduct this act of violence,” the FBI special agent said. President Donald Trump was briefed on the attack, an administration official told CNN.

The Flint Islamic Center condemned the attack and urged the community to unite “against such senseless” violence.

“We here in Flint are a resilient community; we understand what it means to stand together, to struggle together, to protect one another, and to overcome together,” said Mohammed Saleem, president of the center’s management committee.

“We will not allow others with their own political agendas to divide us.”

Satair Group, MTI sign MoU to bring innovative laser strike protection to civil aviation market

Airbus wholly-owned subsidiary, Satair Group and Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (MTI) and its optical filters division, Lamda Guard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which will lead to an exclusive multi-million dollar global distribution agreement to bring MTI s laser protection product metaAIR to the civil aviation market.

Satair Group, MTI Sign MoU To Bring Innovative Laser Strike Protection To Civil Aviation MarketGeorge Palikaras, founder and CEO of Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (left) and Bart Reijnen, CEO of Satair Group, celebrate the recent agreement. Metamaterial Technologies Inc. Photo Advertisement


metaAIR is nanofabricated as a flexible metamaterial optical filter which can be applied to any transparent surface such as the inner surface of an aircraft s cockpit windscreen to control unwanted light sources while not interfering with visibility. The filter deflects harmful laser beams aimed at aircraft windscreens even at high power levels and from wide angles preventing the beam from reaching the inside of the aircraft cockpit. In addition to laser protection at night, metaAIR may also feature new types of optical protections such as ultraviolet ray protection for daytime operation at cruising altitudes, answering a long-established concern for many flight crews. Laser strikes on commercial aircraft have risen over the years and laser pointers are increasing in power and decreasing in price. Lasers can distract and even harm pilots during critical phases of flight and can cause temporary visual impairment.

Over 2,000 laser incidents were recorded in the U.S. in the first four months alone of 2017, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 2015, there were over 10,000 laser incidents reported to the FAA, the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Transport Canada.

This marks a key milestone for MTI, said George Palikaras, MTI founder and CEO. Satair Group is a global leader in aerospace supply management and known for their innovative products. We are very pleased to have Satair Group as our exclusive distributor for our laser protection products. Through our partnership with Satair Group we will introduce metaAIR to the commercial aviation market in 2018, offering a solution to the increasing threats of laser strikes in global aviation. Satair Group s involvement follows in the footsteps of two previous agreements signed between Airbus and MTI s Lamda Guard division over the past three years. In 2014, MTI entered Airbus Corporate Innovation s Start-Up 2 Partner program which aims at building mutually beneficial partnerships with disruptive innovators and start-up companies. While setting the ground for future business arrangements, with the support of the Airbus Aircraft Security team, the program also evaluated, tested and tailored metaAIR for potential application on to its aircraft. Earlier this year, a new agreement for the validation, certification and commercialization of the product was announced.

Satair Group is now moving this relationship to commercialization and will deploy its global presence and extended distribution and parts support services to all commercial aviation market segments with a full metaAIR service offering package.

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Bart Reijnen, CEO of Satair Group added: We are delighted to pick up the baton for this exciting technology from our colleagues at Airbus Corporate Innovation and Airbus Aircraft Security who have steered it through the verification and testing stage. With our first mover advantage and through our global reach and excellent relationships with operators we will ensure metaAIR gets exposure to all aircraft categories and to airlines, MROs [maintenance, repair and overhauls] and corporate operators worldwide. Satair Group will choose an experienced partner for supplemental type certificate (STC) development to ensure metaAIR meets airworthiness and certification requirements for different aircraft types. Certification approval initially from the FAA, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) is expected to be granted in early 2018 with other relevant jurisdictions following later. The metaAIR product will be developed initially for the Airbus A320 family, followed shortly afterwards by all other Airbus and also Boeing types, as well as for other commercial airliners. Satair Group also sees demand for this product coming from business and general aviation and rotary-wing customers.