AVON, Minn. (KMSP) - Off-duty police officer Jason Falconer was the right person, in the right place, at the right time. The part-time cop with the Avon, Minnesota Police Department is the owner of a gun range in Waite Park called Tactical Advantage, and he’s a competitive shooter, according to his police chief. In fact, he’s the firearms instructor for the city of Avon.
“I believe there was divine intervention,” Chief Corey Nellis said. “I believe he was the person that needed to be there to prevent it from being worse than it was.”
Officer Falconer happened to be at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud on Saturday night, simply as another shopper. He was there to buy a gift for his daughter, but ended up stopping a man who stabbed 10 people from hurting anyone else.
“If I was going to ask anyone to fire live rounds in a crowded mall, I would trust his abilities over anybody’s,” Chief Nellis said.
The FBI confirmed investigators are looking at 22-year-old Dahir Adan's rampage as a possible act of terrorism, but St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said the investigation so far shows that the attacker acted alone. There is also no indication of any connection between the mall attack in Minnesota and the bombings in New York and New Jersey.
A woman who was working at Crossroads Center on Saturday night, about 50 feet away from where the attack ended, told Fox 9 she heard a scuffle between some people, then gunshots, then a voice yelling for her to get down.
“I am very thankful for Jason for his professionalism and being there -- number one, for being there,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified. “And very thankful for him putting his life at stake to protect the rest of us.”