FLINT, MICH. - The man accused of stabbing a police officer at the Flint airport Wednesday is a married father of three children, who worked on and off as a truck driver and indicated he had no mental health problems, according to newly released audio of his federal court hearing.
Amor Ftouhi, 50, was born in Tunisia and had citizenship there and in Canada, where he lived for the past decade.
He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis Wednesday for his initial appearance and told her in English that he understands the charge against him and the allegations that he used a large knife to stab Lt. Jeff Neville, who remains hospitalized today.
The act is being investigated as an act of terror by the FBI, who said Ftouhi yelled “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is great” in Arabic, pulled out the knife and stabbed Neville in the neck in a public area of the Bishop International Airport.
Ftouhi faces a charge of committing a violent act in an airport, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. He is behind bars pending a detention hearing set for June 28 in Flint federal court.
Audio of the brief court hearing was released today.
According to information from hearing, Ftouhi has indicated he has some understanding of English but is mostly fluent in French. He lives in Montreal, doesn’t use drugs or alcohol and last worked about two weeks ago, the court was told.
The Federal Defender Office is representing Ftouhi and David Koelzer, his attorney present at the hearing Wednesday, told the court he read the complaint to Ftouhi in English, and his client also had a written copy.
“He appeared to understand what I was reading and indicated to me that he understood what I was reading to him,” Koelzer said.
Ftouhi answered several questioned from the judge, including when she asked if he understood he must tell the truth filling out a financial affidavit.
“Yes, I tell the truth,” Ftouhi responded.
During the attack Wednesday, officials said Ftouhi said something similar to, 'You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and we are all going to die," a court document shows.
"Suffice to say, he has a hatred for the United States," Detroit's FBI Chief David Gelios said Wednesday of the suspect, who was subdued by law enforcement and taken into custody.
The FBI said Wednesday they view Ftouhi as “a lone wolf attacker."
He entered the U.S. In Lake Champlain in New York legally on June 16 and eventually made his way to Flint, the FBI.
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