The leader of the Somali community in the state told VOA Somali service that the suspect, who was shot and killed by police during the attack Saturday, was Dahir Adan.
Abdul Kulane said Adan was known to the community, was working as a part-time security officer, and was a “smart and reliable person.”
Kulane said he did not know the motives or the full picture behind the attack. He said he thought the stabbings had no links with terrorism, despite a claim by an Islamic-run news agency that the attack was carried out by a “soldier of the Islamic State.”
Adan’s father, Ahmed Adan, told the Star Tribune newspaper that police told him Saturday night his son, Dahir, died at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud. He said police didn’t mention the attack on the mall, but they seized photos and other materials from the family’s apartment.
Authorities have not publicly identified the attacker, whom they say was killed by an off-duty policeman. None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the stabbings as a “potential act of terrorism.”
Police Chief William Blair Anderson said the assailant made references to Allah during the knife attack at the Crossroads Center, and even asked if one person was a Muslim.
Anderson stopped short of calling the attack an act of terrorism, saying the motive is not yet clear. “We will be diligent and get to the bottom of this,” he said.
IS has encouraged so-called “lone wolf” attacks, but it also has claimed past attacks that are not believed to have been planned by the group.
St. Cloud is about 110 kilometers northwest of Minneapolis, the state’s largest city.