An assailant at a mall in St. Cloud, Minn., stabbed at least eight people before the suspect was shot dead by an off-duty police officer, authorities said.
Police say he was "reportedly wearing a private security uniform" and began attacking shoppers at Crossroads Center just after 8 p.m., as Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Nelson told our Newscast unit. "Police said that the attacks occurred in several places in the mall," he added.
"St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said that suspect made at least one reference to Allah and asked one person if they were Muslim," as Nelson reported. "The chief declined to call the incident an act of terrorism, and said the motive for the attack remained unclear, but that the FBI has offered to aid the investigation."
An ISIS run-news agency claimed a connection to the attack, calling the man a "soldier of the Islamic State," as NPR's Alison Meuse reports. She added that "ISIS often claims responsibility for attacks after the fact and it is not immediately clear whether they planned this attack or had advance knowledge of it."
Anderson added that those injured in the attack are expected to survive. The Associated Press reported they were taken to a hospital where one was admitted in St. Cloud, which is about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis .
Anderson also told reporters that the suspect was previously known to the police – he said "local police had three previous encounters with the suspect, most for minor traffic violations," according to The Associated Press.
The St. Cloud Times spoke with Danny Carranza, who was with his children in the mall when the the attack started.
"People came running around the corner and I freaked out because I thought it was a terrorist attack or something because I saw a lot of people, so I grabbed my kids," he told the Times. "I ran as much as I could and I heard someone yell 'Stop! Stop!' As soon as the door shut I heard gunshots."
Carranza made it out of the mall with his kids at the time, but the Times reports his wife was trapped in the mall for hours.