U.S. officials have released new details about the attack on a Minnesota mosque on Sunday, the deadliest in a wave of violent anti-Muslim rhetoric that has rattled Muslim-American communities.
Authorities say the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) before he opened fire, but authorities did not immediately say if he was connected to a domestic terrorist organization.
The suspect is described as a white man in his late 30s with short hair, wearing a black jacket, khakis and a dark hoodie, according to authorities.
The FBI says the man was shot multiple times.
The attack took place just before midnight at the Muslim Society of St. Cloud.
Authorities said at least three people were killed and five others were wounded.
“The FBI is deeply saddened by the senseless attack that occurred at a mosque in St. Paul, Minnesota, and will continue to work tirelessly to bring to justice those responsible,” FBI Director Andrew McCabe said in a statement.
“As we work to identify the terrorist, we will be closely monitoring his activities and will provide any additional information as we receive it.
A memorial service for the victims is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Sunday at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, according the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Mika Brzezinski, president of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” called the shooting “the latest example of a violent and hate-filled strain of extremism in our country that has no place in our society.”
The attack has the potential to become a new norm, and it’s a reminder that we cannot allow hatred and bigotry to infect our communities or our nation,” Brzezinksi said on MSNBC.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House will be in touch with the Muslim community.
He also called the attack a “senseless act of terror,” and said President Donald Trump will be briefed on the incident.
Trump’s administration has been criticized for not releasing more information about the suspect, including whether he was radicalized.
In a series of tweets, Trump suggested the attack was a “preplanned act” and that “this is not what we want to see.”
The president also said the suspect was “a lone wolf” and “no threat to the American people.”
On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey said he had been told that “there is a high likelihood that this was an act of domestic terrorism.”
He added: “It is important to remember that our nation is built on the ideals of inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all people, including those who may be different from us.”FBI officials have previously described the suspect as a “lone wolf” who lived in Minneapolis.
He was described by a law enforcement official as a man in late 30’s or early 40’s, about 6 feet tall, wearing dark clothing, with a beard and wearing a hoodie.
Federal agents say the suspect opened fire from a parking garage in the mosque’s parking lot.
As the FBI said in its statement: “The suspect was a lone wolf who lived and worked in the Minneapolis area.
He did not appear to be a follower of any particular religious or political group.
It is unclear whether the suspect had any links to any international terrorist organization, including ISIS.
FBI officials said they were working with local law enforcement to gather more information and provide any assistance they can.
The White House said the incident “underscores the urgent need to protect our nation from acts of domestic terror.”
The White House issued a statement Sunday evening saying, “The White Houses National Security Council will continue its weekly briefing, and the president and the first lady will travel to St. Louis to meet with law enforcement leaders and families of those who were killed in the attack.
This is a terrible tragedy that will require our nation to work together to stop these attacks before they occur again.
“Trump has said repeatedly that Islam hates us and will stop at nothing to destroy us.
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin tweeted on Sunday that the FBI was “working to get to the bottom of this” and added, “the worst thing that could happen is that this ends up being a hate crime.”
Trump’s statement that the attack “underscore the urgent needs to protect the nation from attacks by domestic extremists is absurd.
This was not a terror attack.
This is not terrorism.
This will not be a hate-crime.