A report by a news agency linked to the Islamic State claimed on Sunday that a "soldier of the Islamic State" was behind a stabbing attack Saturday night at a Minnesota shopping mall, an episode the FBI said it was investigating as a "potential act of terrorism."
Nine people were injured in the attack before an off-duty police officer fatally shot the knife-wielding man, authorities in St. Cloud said.
The attacker, who was dressed in a security guard uniform, mentioned Allah and asked at least one victim if he was Muslim, the police said. All nine victims were expected to survive.
ISIS on Sunday claimed responsibility for the episode, but it was unclear whether the attacker, whom the police have not identified, was in fact acting in the name of the terror group.
Chief William Blair Anderson of the St. Cloud police told reporters at the scene, "It has hit home for us. But I want everybody in St. Cloud to know that we will be diligent and we will get to the bottom of this."
"It's an awful day, honestly," Anderson said.
In a phone interview Sunday morning, Mayor Dave Kleis said the mall, Crossroads Center, was an active crime scene and would remain closed. He praised the off-duty police officer, who he said had "clearly saved lives and protected the other individuals."
Later Sunday, Kleis identified the off-duty officer as Jason Falconer, a police officer in nearby Avon. Kleis said video of the shooting, which has not been released publicly, showed Falconer confronting the attacker in a Macy's store and shooting him as he charged with a knife.
"For me watching it, it looked like a training video for what law enforcement should do," Kleis said.
The mayor said the wounded were seven men, one woman and a teenage girl, all from the St. Cloud area.
Kleis called the attack an "evil act, unjustifiable in any way."