US & Canada

Michigan airport suspect tried to buy a gun, says FBI

Amor Ftouhi, arrested in connection with the stabbing of a police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, is shown in this photo released by the FBI in Flint, Michigan Image copyright FBI handout via REUTERS
Image caption Amor Ftouhi is shown in this photo released by the FBI

The FBI says it believes the Canadian terror suspect in Wednesday's Michigan airport stabbing attempted to buy a gun while in the US.

Amor Ftouhi - who is originally from Tunisia - is in custody after allegedly attacking a police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint.

The FBI says he unsuccessfully tried to obtain a gun in the US, before buying the knife used in the assault.

Lieutenant Jeff Neville is in a stable condition in hospital.

FBI special agent David Gelios told media on Thursday the accused legally crossed into the US by car at the Lake Champlain, New York border crossing on 16 June.

Authorities believe he entered the state of Michigan on 18 June after they found and searched his vehicle, which was left in the airport car park.

"It is a good news story that we have an individual who attempted to buy a gun in the United States and was unsuccessful," Agent Gelios told reporters.

Image copyright LinkedIn
Image caption Lieutenant Jeff Neville has worked for more than 20 years as a law enforcement officer

US authorities have given Mr Ftouhi's age as 47, 49 and 50.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said his apartment in Montreal, Quebec, was searched on Thursday.

Mr Ftoufi was living in a working-class neighbourhood dubbed the Petit Maghreb because it is popular with North African immigrants.

He has resided in the building with his wife and three children for close to six years, his landlord, Luciano Piazza, told Reuters news agency.

According to US court records, Mr Ftouhi worked on and off as a truck driver.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Montreal Police guard the front of the four storey building in Montreal where Amor Ftouhi lived

Neighbours quoted by various Canadian media outlets described him as quiet and friendly.

Lt Neville was standing at the top of the airport escalators when he was approached from behind and knifed.

The FBI said the attacker shouted "Allah" and "you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die".

Agent Gelios said there is still no evidence the attack was part of a wider plot or that Mr Ftouhi had any accomplices.

The FBI says the accused had not previously been on the radar of authorities in either country.

Mr Ftouhi is charged with committing an act of violence at an airport by US authorities on Wednesday.

His next court appearance is on 28 June.

Authorities say it is possible more charges will be laid.