At a Glance | June 26

Flint Airport Update: FBI Says Attacker Tried to Buy a Gun, but Used a Knife Instead

The Canadian man charged with attacking police Lieutenant Jeff Neville with a knife at the airport in Flint, Michigan, on June 21 tried to buy a gun in the United States last week, but was unsuccessful, the FBI confirmed at a press conference.  The Bureau would not confirm where the attempted purchase took place or why the defendant, Amor Ftouhi, was unable to complete the purchase. The FBI also said Ftouhi bought the knife used in the attack—a 12-inch (eight-inch blade) serrated knife (see photo)—after he arrived from Canada in Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16.

Lieutenant Neville, who was originally hospitalized in critical condition, has since been upgraded to good condition, and doctors say he could be released from the hospital within a few days. Local news media reported last week that about 75 people from all religions gathered at a park in Flint for an interfaith prayer service for Lieutenant Neville, sponsored by the Flint Islamic Center.


London Update: Suspect Charged With Terrorist-Related Murder in Mosque Attack

Last week, British prosecutors charged Darren Osborne, age 47, of Cardiff, Wales, with terrorist-related murder and attempted murder in connection with a van attack on a crowd of worshipers near a mosque in London on June 19. Prosecutors allege that he conducted a premeditated attack “motivated by extreme political views and a personal hated of Muslims,” and that he “acted to kill, maim, injure, and terrify as many people as possible.” A post-mortem examination found that the cause of the death of the man who died at the scene of the attack was “multiple injuries,” thus clearing the way for the murder charge against Osborne, who faces a preliminary hearing this week.

London police have released a photograph of the van used in the attack (see photo), and they have appealed to the public for any information about the vehicle or its driver. Investigators said the rented van was driven from Cardiff to London between June 17 and 18.


Murder of Muslim Teenager in Virginia Is Being Investigated as a Road-Rage Incident  

Last week, Fairfax County (Virginia) police said they are investigating the murder of a teenage Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen of Reston, on June 18 as a road rage incident, rather than a hate crime. Investigators say Nabra was part of a group of teens returning from a restaurant to a mosque about 3:40 a.m. (not unusual during Ramadan celebrations), walking and biking in a major road. The defendant, Darwin Martinez Torres, age 22, of Sterling, Virginia, was driving down the road, got into an argument with a teenager on a bicycle, and then drove his car up over a curb, scattering about 15 teenagers. He later caught up with them in a parking lot, chased them with a baseball bat, and struck Nabra and then abducted her into his car, according to police.

Police said Martinez Torres assaulted Nabra a second time, near his apartment complex in Loudoun County, and threw her body into a nearby pond, where it was found that afternoon. The medical examiner ruled that the cause of her death was blunt-force trauma to the head and neck.

Although Fairfax County police say they have no indication that Nabra was targeted because of her religion, some leaders in the Muslim community continue to express their belief that this murder is a hate crime.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.