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Man charged in Mall of America stabbing previously committed to state psychiatric care

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Mahad Abdirahman
Mahad Abdirahman, 20, is the suspect in the stabbing of two men at the Mall of America on Nov. 12, 2017.
Courtesy of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

The man charged with stabbing two people at the Mall of America was ruled mentally ill with schizophrenia last year and committed to state psychiatric care for much of 2017 before the attack.

Mahad Abdirahman, 20, of Minneapolis, faces two counts of first degree assault for stabbing two brothers in a fitting room at the Mall of America Macy's store. Abdirahman, also known in court records as Mahad Abdiraham, seriously wounded the two Minneapolis men, one 19-years-old and the other 25. The pair disarmed and subdued Abdirahman until Bloomington Police could arrest him.

But it wasn't Abdirahman's first brush with the law.

Court records show he was taken by paramedics to the Hennepin County Medical Center's psychiatric unit in October last year after his family called to report he was having a mental health crisis. He'd been hospitalized just a short time before for mental illness and prescribed medication but stopped taking it. Three days later, he stabbed one of the hospital's psychiatrists with a pen and had to be physically restrained and sent to the intensive care unit. He faced criminal assault charges in that case, as well.

"As a consequence of his mental illness, Respondent engages in grossly disturbed behavior or experiences faulty perceptions and he poses a substantial likelihood of causing physical harm," says an order dated December 12, 2016. It says when he was hospitalized he was "talking and mumbling to himself in auditory hallucinations. He made a statement that the FBI can control his thoughts and read his mind."

It isn't clear from court records where he was placed for treatment.

Abdirahman had a hearing in June, and agreed to a 7-month extension of his commitment. He was ordered released on a provisional discharge, in a June 1 order signed by referee Mike Lien and Hennepin County district court judge Elizabeth Cutter. Cutter's staff referred questions about the case to a court spokesperson, who did not respond to repeated requests about the nature of Abdirahman's case or why he wasn't ordered committed through the end of this year.

Instead, he was at the Mall of America last weekend.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday says the assault victims were shopping at Macy's. The younger brother was trying on some pants and walked out of a fitting room. When he returned to the room, Abdirahman was nearby.

"The victim went into the fitting room, changed clothes and tried to come out. When the victim came out, Abdirahman was holding a large knife," the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said. "As the victim tried to go past him, Abdirahman began slashing. The victim received multiple cuts across his face, head and the back of his arms, with some of the latter cuts going to the bone."

His family heard the screams and rushed to help. The victim's 25-year-old brother went to grab the knife and wound up with cuts to his hands and back, requiring 42 stitches. The younger brother needed a blood transfusion and will have permanent scars to his head, the complaint states.

Victims and witnesses subdued Abdirahman and took away the knife, which had an 8-inch blade, according to the complaint. 

Abdirahman is being held on $750,000 bail and made a first appearance in Hennepin County District Court before Judge Kerry Meyer. He's scheduled to be back in court December 15th. A man who identified himself as Abdirahman's father declined comment on the case outside court.