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Montreal suspect in Michigan airport stabbing had tried to buy a gun, FBI says

A 49-year-old Montreal resident, suspected of stabbing a police officer at a Michigan airport, tried and failed to buy a gun before purchasing the knife allegedly used in the attack, the FBI said Thursday. Investigators are still trying to determine why Amor Ftouhi travelled from his home in Montreal to Flint, a struggling city in the American rustbelt more than 1,000 kilometres away, where the attack occurred. Dave Gelios, the lead FBI investigator in the case, told a news conference there is still no evidence Ftouhi has ties to any organization.

“I can say that the knife was purchased in the United States, somewhere along his trip from New York,” Gelios said.

“The reason I give that information I think it’s a good news story that we have an individual who attempted to buy a gun in the United States and was unsuccessful.”

Truck driver, father of 3

Ftouhi is a dual Canadian-Tunisian citizen, who lives in an apartment in Montreal’s St-Michel neighbourhood. Neighbours described him as a “good person” who tended to keep to himself. He held jobs at a grocery store and trained to become a security guard before working as a truck driver in recent years, according to a copy of his resum obtained by CBC News. He has no prior criminal record and, according to his CV, had obtained a FAST pass, a special permit used by truckers to speed up crossing the U.S.-Canada border.

The FBI maintains Ftouhi crossed into the United States at Champlain, N.Y., on June 16, and appears to have arrived in Michigan two days later. His car was found in the parking lot of Bishop International Airport.

Montreal Suspect In Michigan Airport Stabbing Had Tried To Buy A Gun, FBI Says

The FBI believes Ftouhi crossed into the U.S. several days before the attack in Flint, Mich. (Facebook)

Ftouhi was taken into custody almost immediately after the Wednesday morning attack. He was charged with committing violence at an airport. The suspect appeared in federal court in Flint on Thursday to hear the charge and will get a court-appointed attorney. A bond hearing was scheduled for next Wednesday. He could face additional charges. Ftouhi told court officials that he has lived in Canada for a decade and has three children.

“He said he was working off and on as a truck driver. Last worked about two weeks ago,” Linsey Carson, a court pretrial services officer, told a judge. “He indicated no mental or physical health problems and no drug or alcohol use.”

The officer who was stabbed at the airport, Lt. Jeff Neville, is recovering in a local hospital. Officials said Thursday he is “doing well.”

‘Atypical’ profile

Ftouhi’s Facebook page, which hasn’t been updated since 2016, shed little light on his views.

The only posts in the past few years were two YouTube videos in Arabic one about methods of memorizing the Qur’an and another about how to stop somebody from swallowing their tongue.

Montreal Suspect In Michigan Airport Stabbing Had Tried To Buy A Gun, FBI Says

Police check the identification of a man in front of an apartment building in Montreal where Amor Ftouhi lives. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

“The profile is a bit atypical,” said David Morin, a professor at Sherbrooke University and co-director of the Observatory on Radicalization and Violent Extremism, adding that Ftouhi had apparently passed “completely under the radar” of law enforcement.

“The fact that he was awarded this [FAST pass] card, if indeed it is proven, would tend to show that no, in terms of risk assessment, the gentleman presented no particular danger.”

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. ^

Legal clinic challenges Ontario panhandling law as unconstitutional

TORONTO A Toronto legal clinic has launched a constitutional challenge against an Ontario law that targets panhandling. The Fair Change clinic argues that the Safe Streets Act violates the rights of people who beg for money, including freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The clinic says the law enacted in 2000 to address aggressive panhandling and squeegeeing criminalizes poverty. It says people ticketed under the act are unable to pay the fines.

Gerry Williams, a former Fair Change client, says he faced nearly $10,000 in tickets for panhandling, which the clinic helped him appeal. Williams, who says he had a traumatic upbringing on a fly-in First Nation, says the fines he could never have paid added an extra burden to his homelessness, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder. A previous constitutional challenge failed after the courts agreed the law infringed on individual charter rights, but said the infringement was justified in the interests of public safety.

A spokesman for Ontario s attorney general did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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