FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - A Flint Bishop International Airport police officer is recovering after being critically wounded.
The FBI is investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. The attacker was identified as Amor Ftouhi, a Canadian man who entered the country June 16 from Lake Champlain, New York and made his way to Flint where inside the airport he attacked Lt. Jeffrey Neville.
Neville was stabbed in his neck and back according to the FBI which said while Ftouhi yelled "Allahu Akbar" and said something to the effect of "You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and you are all going to die."
Ftouhi appeared in a Flint federal court tonight and heard the charges against him. He was then given a court appointed attorney. Ftouhi will remain in custody until a bond hearing next Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
A criminal complaint charging him with committing violence at an airport says Ftouhi, 49, asked an officer who subdued him why the officer didn't kill him.
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The airport police chief Christopher Miller said Neville fought to the end and had help with an innocent bystander coming to his aid.
"A non-sworn public safety officer - someone who is not involved in that - assisted in taking this individual down and restraining him," said Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios. "And thus my comment earlier about there was some acts of heroism because had he been able to get free and tried to attack additional people, we could be talking about much greater harm than occurred today."
Lt. Jeff Neville is in satisfactory condition and he is recovering at a local hospital. He did undergo surgery that went well after being stabbed in the neck and back.
Ftouhi is charged with violence at an international airport and that is a crime that carries a 20-year penalty. The FBI said it is unclear why he chose to come to Flint with seemingly no connection seemingly to anyone in this region or part of Michigan.
He is from Montreal, Quebec according to his Facebook page.
An innocent bystander, who saw what happened, came to Neville’s aid and helped fight that man off and render aid to Lt. Neville.
During the press conference FOX 2 had the opportunity to ask the director if this is an opportunity to rethink airport security because Amor Ftouhi allegedly attacked the officer with a 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade.
This happened in the public part of the airport where there is no metal detectors, not a great deal of security that you find at the security checkpoints before you go to the terminals.
Gelios didn't have an answer for that saying he could not really comment on security policy. That is going to be a big question going forward in light of the terror attack which the FBI is investigating it as.
The airport is going to be at a heightened state of security. Gelios said they understand this to be a lone wolf attack and there is no information, no credible information to suggest that anyone else or anyone in this Flint area at-large is at risk.