Doctors: Officer stabbed at airport recovering well

Rachael Hannah hugs her daughter Raylee Hannah, 5, as she looks up to Einas Shalabi at the Flint Islamic Center's interfaith prayer service on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Flint, Mich., at for Lt. Jeff Neville, who was stabbed at Bishop Airport Wednesday morning. "I felt so obliged, morally, that I have to come, support and be a part of this. This is my first time attending an interfaith ceremony and I feel like there is a lot of positive energy here. Each and everyone prayed with their own language and own prayer but they were all asking for the same thing," said Shalabi, of Grand Blanc, Mich. (Shannon Millard /The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER and JEFF KAROUB

Associated Press

FLINT, Mich. — The Flint, Michigan, airport officer stabbed in the neck during what authorities are investigating as a terrorist act is recovering well from a 12-inch “slash” that caused significant bleeding but spared major arteries and a nerve by “millimeters,” one of his doctors said Friday.

Hurley Medical Center doctors said during a news conference that Bishop International Airport police Lt. Jeff Neville could be released from the hospital within a couple days. Dr. Donald Scholten said he is making good progress after being stabbed from “by his Adam’s apple” up “to the angle of his jaw.”

“This was a matter of millimeters,” Scholten said. “The slash was probably very, very close to severing his major arteries and nerve — perhaps even his windpipe and digestive systems … This was not a shaving nick, if you will. This was significant force.”

Neville was stabbed Wednesday at the airport in Flint, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. Amor Ftouhi, 49, a Canadian from Tunisia, is charged in the attack. Detroit FBI head David Gelios said Ftouhi unsuccessfully tried to buy a gun once he arrived in the U.S. but instead managed to buy a large knife.

Authorities say Ftouhi stabbed Neville with a large knife after yelling “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great.” According to the FBI, Ftouhi said something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.”

Ftouhi was immediately taken into custody and was charged in a criminal complaint with committing violence at an airport. Acting U.S. Attorney Dan Lemisch said more charges are coming in the days ahead. Ftouhi is in custody and has a bond hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Neville “fought him to the end,” managing to stop the stabbing and bring Ftouhi to the ground as other officers arrived to help, according to Chris Miller, the airport police chief. Scholten also credits first responders, saying their efforts to control Neville’s bleeding were “absolutely life-saving.”

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