It happened just after 8 p.m. There were eight victims with stab wounds, police said. Seven were treated and released and one remains in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
Police said the Muslim suspect, dressed in a private security uniform, made a reference to Allah and asked one victim if they were Muslim before attempting to kill them with a knife.
An off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction confronted the Islamist suspect and fatally shot him, police said.
Ashley Bayne works at the J.C. Penney store in the mall. She was off Saturday night, but was visiting a friend at the store when the incident took place.
WCCO’s Liz Collin spoke with her on the phone.
“I went closer to the mall entrance by J.C. Penney’s and I was looking at some jeans and all the sudden people were just running in chaos,” Bayne said. “They were screaming, ‘Someone’s stabbing people in the mall,’ and people were just really frantic and were running.
“There were so many cop cars just responding to the area,” Bayne said.
“When I got in my car to get out people were speeding out of there,” she said. “By the time I left my coworker had texted me saying they had all gone into lockdown in the mall. There were no notifications in the mall at all, it was just people running and screaming.”
Mandy Sweeter was shopping at the Target next to Macy’s, where the stabbings occurred.
“I heard something, didn’t know what that was, but then some teenagers came into Target screaming,” Sweeter said. “I thought at first it was just teenagers acting silly on a Saturday night but then the store went on lockdown immediately.”
Police began letting people out of the mall Saturday night, asking each person for identification. Police identified several witnesses for interviews. The FBI has reached out to St. Cloud police, offering their assistance if necessary.
The mall will remain closed until further notice, police said.
“It’s an awful day,” said St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson.”We’ve got eight victims that were assaulted in this mall.
“Guess what? Tomorrow things won’t be the same here.”