ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A Big Lake couple is still trying to understand how something like this could happen in a town like St. Cloud. A man in a security uniform -- who they assumed was there to protect, instead unleashed hours of violence and fear inside a shopping mall.
Isaiah Mordal was stabbed in the back during the Saturday night rampage at Crossroads Center, while his nine-month pregnant girlfriend Johanna Bohnenkamp managed to escape with a laceration to her neck.
"I begged him, 'Don't kill me,'" Mordal said on Monday. "'Please don't do this. I don't know why you're doing this. You don't have to.'"
Authorities continue to investigate the incident as a possible act of terrorism, days after the man dressed in a private security uniform began stabbing victims through the mall, leaving a total of 10 injured.
That man, identified by a member of the local Somali community as 20-year-old Dahir Adan, of St. Cloud, was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer inside the Macy's store.
Mordal said he was leaving work at a pretzel shop inside the mall when he saw the suspect -- he was walking towards him when he suddenly grabbed an older woman, put his arm around her and said something Mordal couldn't understand.
Then, without warning, Mordal said he pulled out a knife and started stabbing her. He then moved to another man nearby and stabbed him, as well.
"At that point, we needed to run and we needed to get out of there," he said.
But the suspect cornered them. Mordal found himself face-to-face with Adan, as he clutched the knife in his hand.
"He screamed something inaudible at me and ran at me with his arm cocked back," he said. "At which point, I ducked and turned and he struck me and stabbed me in my right shoulder blade."
Mordal said that's when the suspect turned to his girlfriend.
"He started running after her. I ran after him screaming, 'Don't touch her, she's pregnant,'" he said.
The suspect turned back to look at Mordal, losing his aim on Bohnenkamp.
He grabbed her by the shoulders but she managed to escape with a cut to the back of her neck.
"It seemed like he went after everyone's neck," she said.
Mordal said he could feel the blood running down his back.
"I kept screaming, 'Someone call 911, call 911, there's someone in the mall stabbing people,'" he said. "Everybody just kind of panicked, started running around screaming."
Both were transported to the hospital for treatment. Bohnenkamp said she was having stomach pain and worried she was going into labor. She and the baby were determined to be fine.
The doctor told Mordal if the knife had gone any deeper into his back, it would've punctured his lung. He's now home recovering after being released from the hospital Sunday morning.