FLINT — Bishop International Airport was evacuated on Wednesday after Lieutenant Jeff Neville of the airport Department of Public Safety was stabbed in the neck in what a government official familiar with the situation said was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
According to David Gelios, special agent in charge of the Detroit division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the attacker Amor Ftouhi, 49, had unsuccessfully attempted to purchase a gun before the stabbing.
Ftouhi, a Quebec resident for the past 10 years, holds a dual Tunisian-Canadian citizenship and legally entered the United States from Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16 before making his way to Flint, Gelios said.
He added that the attacker was not on the radar of U.S. or Canadian authorities before the attack and was in Michigan as early as June 18. All passengers were safe, the airport said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.
Neville underwent surgery after the attack and is stable, Michigan State Police Spokeswoman Lori Dougovito said. Asked if the stabbing was under investigation as possible terrorism, the government official, who asked not be named, said “yes.”
Lt. Neville was stabbed inside the airport’s main terminal, Michigan State Police spokesman David Kaiser said in a telephone interview from the airport.
In a press conference, Wednesday afternoon, Gelios said the FBI has filed a complaint charging Ftouhi.
The airport warned of potential cancellations and delays after the incident.
In a statement from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, officials increased security at Flint City Hall, including additional police officers, in “an abundance of caution.”
Bishop Airport is a small regional airport with two runways that has, on average, 16 commercial flights arriving or departing each day, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking service. g