Hospital officials: Attack left Flint airport cop with 12-inch gash on his neck
Jeff Neville/Facebook(FLINT, Mich.) — The man who stabbed a police officer at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, left the officer with an approximately 12-inch long laceration from his Adam’s apple to the back of his neck, a hospital official said Friday morning.
Lt. Jeff Neville was assaulted outside the airport’s Transportation Security Administration screening area on Wednesday morning, allegedly by a Canadian man, in an attack that is being investigated as an act of terrorism, officials said. Neville is in stable condition and expected to fully recover, according to hospital officials.
Neville was able to stop the assault within a minute and “never stopped fighting” until the attacker was in handcuffs, according to airport officials.
An airport maintenance worker also jumped in and helped restrain the attacker, according to Airport Director Craig Williams.
“I believe he saved Jeff’s life,” Williams said.
Hospital officials said that Neville was calm after the attack and appeared to understand the situation he was in.
The 12-inch knife used in the attack had an 8-inch serrated blade.
It sliced through the muscles in the officer’s neck but likely avoided further damage by “a matter of millimeters,” said Dr. Donald Scholten, a trauma surgeon at Hurley Medical Center.
The knife “was probably very, very close to severing his major artery and nerve,” Scholten said Friday, adding that it could have also severed “his windpipe and digestive system.”
“This was a significant force,” Scholten said. “This was not a shaving nick.”
Neville underwent surgery shortly after the assault, officials said, and he received at least 50 stitches.
Officials said Friday that Neville is making progress and expected to be discharged within a few days.
Neville has been an airport employee since 2001, Williams said, adding that he is “well-loved by everybody here just for his personality, his professionalism. He treats everybody with respect.”
During Wednesday’s attack, the suspect, Amor Ftouhi, allegedly yelled “Allahu Akbar,” (God is great), according to David Gelios of the FBI.
Gelios said Ftouhi “continued to exclaim ‘Allah’ and he made a statement to the effect of, ‘You killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan’ and ‘We’re all going to die.'”
After Ftouhi was taken into custody and interviewed by authorities, officials said it appeared he had “a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things that motivated him … to conduct this act of violence.”
A criminal complaint was filed against Ftouhi on Wednesday for “violence at an international airport,” but officials noted that there could be more charges in the future.
Ftouhi made an initial appearance in court Wednesday evening and ordered temporarily detained without bond, prosecutors said. His public defender did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
The ongoing investigation into the incident is part of a joint operation between the U.S. and Canada, officials said.
Ftouhi legally entered the U.S. in Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16, and later traveled to Flint, Gelios said.
No one else appears to have been involved and there is no information to suggest a wider plot, officials said.
The airport, which was evacuated and shut down Wednesday, later reopened. No passengers were harmed in the attack, officials said.
Ftouhi’s next hearing is set for June 28.
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