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Suspect charged in Mall of America attack; survivors have deep wounds

Mahad Abdiaziz Abdiraham Submitted photo

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Alexander Sanchez, 19, was trying on pants at Macy’s in the Mall of America on Sunday. When he left the fitting room, a man confronted him with an 8-inch knife. Sanchez tried to push past him, but the man began cutting and slashing him, according to a complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

On Tuesday, 20-year-old Mahad Abdiaziz Abdiraham of Minneapolis was charged with two counts of first-degree assault in connection with an attack that left Sanchez and his brother wounded, according to the complaint said.

Sanchez had been shopping with eight family members around 6:30 Sunday evening. He tried on some pants and went to show them to his family. When he returned, he noticed Abdiraham standing outside the fitting room, “looking as if he thought about going inside,” according to the complaint.

When Sanchez exited the dressing room with his things, Abdiraham took a knife to him, according to the complaint. His family heard him screaming and tried to help. Sanchez’s brother John Sanchez, 25, was stabbed while trying to grab the knife from Abdiraham, the complaint said.

Eventually, the victims and witnesses subdued Abdiraham until police arrived. Officers found “a chaotic scene and a lot of blood,” according to the complaint.

Alexander Sanchez suffered cuts across his face, head, and arms, some to the bone. He later required a blood transfusion and will most likely have permanent head scarring, medical personnel told authorities. John Sanchez’s back required 42 stitches to repair, the complaint said. He has been released from the hospital, police said.

Abdiraham has  been previously arrested for stabbing two staff members with a pen at an in-patient psychiatric unit, according to the complaint. He is in custody, and his first appearance will be Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

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