On Saturday — the same day which saw explosions in New York and New Jersey — residents of St. Cloud, Minnesota were on edge as a man entered a mall and stabbed nine people. But there was one person whom everyone has been talking about since the tragic incident. Who is Jason Falconer, the off-duty police officer who stopped the attack by fatally shooting the perpetrator?
Falconer was merely shopping at the Crossroads Center mall Saturday when a man reportedly approached him after stabbing nine others. St. Cloud mayor Dave Kleis told CNN that Falconer identified himself as an officer, the man lunged toward him, and Falconer fired. According to Kleis, the man stood three times after being fired on, until Falconer fired the last shot.
As both a former police chief (of Albany, Minnesota) and owner and instructor at Tactical Advantage, a firing range and firearms training facility, Falconer is considered an expert in the field, and for nine years, he helped teach law enforcement classes at St. Cloud State University. According to Tactical Advantage's website, his goal is "to teach individuals the mindset, knowledge, and skills needed to be successful with firearms in order to secure their personal safety, or that of their family, at home or in public." He's also an advocate of reality-based training for firearms, and consults for Situation Mission Execution Administration Command (SMEC).
Despite his brave work in containing the attack, Falconer seems to be trying to stay away from the spotlight. According to the Associated Press, reporters have attempted to contact him, but on Sunday, there was no answer at the door of his last known address, and Falconer's voicemail was full. The Minneapolis Star is one of the few outlets that have been able to speak to Falconer, and he confessed, "I've been trying to stay away from it all, for the time being."
In a press conference, Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis expressed how proud he is of Falconer, and suggested that the attacker could have hurt more people had he not stepped in. However, he also said that Falconer probably needs some time to cope with the situation, reminding us, "He too is a victim in this situation." Out of the nine people stabbed at the mall, three were admitted to St. Cloud hospital and released by Sunday night, while five were treated and released. One other victim drove himself to a hospital in Long Prairie.