What we know about the Flint airport attack and its Canadian suspect
FBI officers have arrested and charged Canadian Amor Ftouhi following an attack on a police officer in Flint, Mich.
The attack, in which the suspect stabbed a police officer in the neck on Wednesday morning, is being investigated as a potential act of terrorism.
Ftouhi was charged with violence at an international airport, an offence that can land him up to 20 years in prison. Officers say more charges could be laid as the investigation continues.
The victim, Officer Jeff Neville, was able to hold off Ftouhi until he was arrested, despite his wounds. He is now in stable condition following surgery Wednesday afternoon.
Ftouhi is a Canadian who lived in Quebec. He was described as middle-aged, but there were conflicting reports on his age; an FBI spokesman said he was 50 years old, but a news release said he was 49, according to the Canadian Press.
According to TVA, an apartment building in Montreal was raided late Wednesday afternoon in relation to the investigation.
Neighbours in the area identified a picture of Amor Ftouhi to Global News saying he, along with his wife and two kids, lived in the building.
WATCH: Montreal apartment raided after police name Quebec suspect in Bishop Airport attack
Ftouhi’s longtime Montreal landlord said he was not a difficult tenant.
“I never had any problems with him,” Luciano Piazza told The Canadian Press. “I’m really surprised. I would see him at least once a month, when he paid his rent.”
A Facebook profile of Ftouhi said he was originally from Tunisia and worked at Industrielle Alliance, a Canadian insurance company.
Industrielle Alliance confirmed that Ftouhi studied to become a company representative from February to July 2011, but left before he could obtain his certificate.
A man who identifed himself as a Facebook friend of Ftouhi’s said the accused wouldn’t even think of “hurting a fly.”
Kamel Yahyaoui said in a Facebook exchange with The Canadian Press he has known Ftouhi for 20 years and that they first met in Tunisia when Ftouhi was a school teacher.
“He’s a socially positive person,” he said. “He’s looking for a good life for him and his family. That’s all.”
According to FBI, Ftouhi entered the U.S. just five days before the attack.
Bishop International Airport is around 100 kilometres from the Detroit-Windsor border crossing.
He arrived at the airport at 8:52 a.m. Wednesday with two bags, according to the FBI complaint filed with the Michigan District Court.
He then went up to the second floor restaurant, and spent around 30 minutes there, before abandoning his bags in a restroom.
At 9:38, Ftouhi allegedly stabbed the officer without any provocation, while yelling “Alluha Akbar,” the complaint states.
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“He further exclaimed something similar to, ‘you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die,’” FBI agent Thomas Sondgeroth wrote in the complaint.
He also asked the victim why he didn’t kill him, according to Sondgeroth.
According to officials, Ftouhi was a lone-wolf attacker and they do not believe he is connected to a wider plot.
While FBI special investigator David Gelios didn’t offer a motive, he did offer an opinion.
“Suffice it to say he has a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.
WATCH: ‘He has a hatred for the U.S.’: official on Canadian terror suspect
Officers described the knife used in the attack as an Amazon Jungle Survival Knife, with a green handle and a serrated blade.
NBC reporter Dave Bondy said Ftouhi tried to buy a gun after he entered the U.S. but was denied.
—with files from the Canadian Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.