I also wanted to address the horrific act of violence that occurred at the Crossroad Center Mall in St. Cloud. This is a mall that I’ve been to many times. It’s a thriving mall. A lot of people in that area go there. And in fact, their sense of safety was shattered that evening. It was shattered.
Ten victims—at first they though there were nine. A video showed there were ten. One was a pregnant woman. By some grace of God, no one was seriously injured and no one died. And it was some terror that I don’t think any of us can imagine. People were just there with their families shopping and this happened.
The first thing that we know is that the mayor and the chief, Mayor Kleis—who I have worked with for many years, a former Republican legislator who has been a strong leader for many years—and Chief Anderson, have been showing that kind of strength in leaders that you like. They have come out, explained what happened immediately to the community, told them the honest truth—that they were still gathering the facts, got the FBI involved. And this is being investigated, of course, as a potential act of terrorism.
We still do not know all the facts. We hope to have them soon. Mostly, they were able to bring, I think, some calm to the community. They were out shopping at the shopping mall.
I talked to the mayor last night—to show their citizens that they are not going to let this act of violence bring down their town. We are well aware that ISIS has sent out a statement claiming responsibility. We do not know if that’s true. We do know that the FBI is investigating any terrorist connections that this man has had, and we await the outcome of this investigation.
The one thing we do know is that due to the courageous actions of the off-duty officer, Jason Faulkner, lives were saved. The good work of the first responders, the reaction of all those present at the mall. Lives were saved and no one died. And this particular officer was there off-duty and had the presence of mind to come to the rescue of all these people, and we thank him for that.
The last thing I would say about this is, talking to the mayor and having been in the community, I know how hard they’ve been working to bridge divides. And there was a beautiful picture in the Star Tribune, and I’m sure in the St. Cloud paper as well, about the rally of unity that they had in the community just yesterday. They now had two. One in the college. The community came out and spoke and strongly condemned this violence in a way that was very heartfelt. This community is an important part of the fabric of life in our state, an important part of the fabric of life, as Senator Franken knows, in St. Cloud.
And so we will work with them to continue to work with them, but we thank the mayor, and the chief, and Officer Faulkner and all those involved for their leadership.
For a broadcast-quality video excerpt of Klobuchar’s remarks, click here.