Last month, a Tunisian-born terrorist stabbed a police officer in the neck at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan. Today, that officer says he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the courageous actions of one “hero” civilian.
Speaking at a Fourth of July parade Tuesday in Fenton, Michigan, Lt. Jeff Neville recalled the traumatic event and the airport maintenance man who risked his own safety to defend him.
Had it not been for that man “walking beside me, I wouldn’t be here talking to you today. There’s no doubt about it,” Neville said Tuesday, according to WXYZ-TV.
“That’s not his job,” the officer noted, but the man, “just reacted.”
“And the way that he reacted was spectacular,” Neville added.
The stabbing, which occurred outside the airport’s TSA screening area, left the officer with a gash that extended from his Adam’s apple to the back of his neck. Doctors who treated Neville said the wound was within millimeters of severing a major artery.
“It was an attack from the rear, it was very sudden,” Neville said Tuesday. “There was no warning. It was very intense. Just a lot of noise and sudden action, and I truly think it was over in 10 seconds. … That’s how fast it happened.”
Neville managed to stop the assault in less than a minute and “never stopped fighting” until the attacker was detained, airport officials said. The maintenance man and security officials also rushed in to restrain the attacker.
According to officials, the suspected knifeman, Amor Ftouhi, legally entered the United States from Canada less than one week before the June 21 attack. After a failed attempt to purchase a gun in the United States, Ftouhi bought a 12-inch Amazon Jungle Survival Knife, which he used to stab Neville.
During the attack, Ftouhi reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar,” David Gelios of the FBI said.
According to ABC News, Gelios said Ftouhi “continued to exclaim ‘Allah’ and he made a statement to the effect of, ‘You killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan’ and ‘We’re all going to die.'”
Officials said the suspected assailant had “a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things that motivated him … to conduct this act of violence.”
Neville was hospitalized and underwent surgery following the attack, but the officer shared Tuesday that he’s now “doing really well.”
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “It feels great to be here, period.”
And despite the horrific incident, the officer is ready to head back to work:
“We got things to do,” Neville said.
Ftouhi was denied bail at June hearing and remains in custody, ABC reported. He is scheduled to appear in court today, July 5, for a preliminary hearing.
(H/T: ABC News)