911 transcripts show confusion, fear during mall stabbings

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The first person to call 911 as a man stabbed several people at a central Minnesota mall in September urged a dispatcher to send police and an ambulance, saying: “There’s blood everywhere.”

Transcripts of about 100 calls to police during the Sept. 17 attack in St. Cloud were released Tuesday. They show a mix of confusion and fear among mall patrons and workers, as some said the attacker was dressed like a police officer. Some of the callers told of injured victims, or reported that someone was shooting at the mall. Some callers said they were hiding in bathrooms or dressing rooms.

“You might wanna get in here as fast as you can. The guy is running through stabbing people,” one caller said.

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Authorities have said Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, was wearing a security guard uniform and armed with two steak knives when he went to the mall and stabbed 10 people, injuring them. Authorities he asked some victims if they were Muslim. The attack ended when an off-duty officer shot and killed Adan.

The FBI has said that Adan’s behavior and actions suggested he had been radicalized and that the attack was premeditated. Shortly after the attacks, an Islamic State-run news agency claimed Adan was a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had heeded the group’s calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition.

Authorities have said Adan had demonstrated a growing interest in religion, but they have released no evidence linking him to extremist groups. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing.

According to the transcripts, the first caller to 911 described a chaotic scene in which one person was bleeding while six people ran inside, screaming for someone to call for help. Thirty seconds later, another caller said a woman ran into her store with a neck wound and “she’s bleeding all over my store.”

As calls came in within seconds of each other, dispatchers asked for a description of the attacker and kept trying to pinpoint his location as he moved through the mall. Because Adan was dressed as a security guard, some callers asked how they would know when help arrived.

One caller asked: “Mam, are the cops with the gun walking around, are those good cops?”

The dispatcher replied: “Y’know, I honestly can’t tell you right now, we have our officers there, but the suspect is not apprehended.”

Dispatchers also asked one caller to apply pressure to a woman’s wound before paramedics arrived, and told those who were hiding to stay put.

“You stay in the locked room until my officers tell you that it’s ok to leave. … you’re safe right there and we’ll get people to you as soon as we can, okay?” one dispatcher said.

More than an hour after that first call to police, a dispatcher was finally able to tell a caller that the suspect was “down.” That caller had phoned police seeking answers because the caller’s daughter was at the mall.

“There are several victims so um she’s gonna need a lot of hugs,” the dispatcher said.