Officer attacked at Flint airport recovering as friends recall what happened

The officer stabbed at Flint Bishop Airport on Wednesday remains hospitalized on Thursday, but he's stable and in good spirits.

They're going from shock to worry and now to appreciation just a day after police say 49-year-old Amor Ftouhi stabbed Bishop International Airport Police Lieutenant Jeff Neville.

The lieutenant is recovering Thursday, as those who stepped into help are recognized.


"Heroes are chosen and sometimes they just happen and in this case, I think it just happened," said Craig Williams, director of the Bishop International Airport.

Investigated as a terrorist attack, Ftouhi is charged with violence at an international airport.

Police say Ftouhi, who is from Canada, walked up to Neville with a large knife, yelling the Arabic phrase for "God is great" and stabbed him.

EMS and fire lieutenant Dan Owen was just steps away.

"I was just looking down getting a cup of coffee and that's when I heard the commotion of a loud thud and screaming right outside right here," Owen said.

After hearing that screaming, Owen ran over to find Neville bleeding, wrestling with Ftouhi.

Owen says that within seconds, airport maintenance began helping Neville, along with the airport's police chief, and at first, Owen says he didn't know what was going on and couldn't tell who was bleeding.

"That's when I noticed the knife," Owen said. "Lt. Neville had a hold of the gentleman's knife, keeping knife away."


That's when Owen says he noticed Neville -- had been bleeding from his neck and back...

"I jumped on the back of the guy ... to control him, control his arm as Chief Miller is handcuffing him and at the same time I was calling on my radio that we had an officer down," he said.

Ftouhi was taken into custody, as Neville was rushed to the hospital.

That maintenance man is being called a hero.

"I believe he saved Jeff's life," Williams said.

"This is not something he comes to work thinking he's ever going to do and he did an outstanding job," Owen said.

As Neville is said to be in good condition, Owen says he was able to visit his friend.

"He was in great spirits, he was smiling. It was good to see him talking," he said.

And now, as Ftouhi faces 20 years in prison and appears to have acted alone, many ask:

"Why? Why Flint? Why our airport?" Williams said.

Williams says since the attack, the airport has temporarily increased security, while assessing procedures day by day.

Those at the airport are proud of the quick response and they breathe a sigh of relief as Neville recovers.

"He's just a good human. Good person, and then you hate to see something happen to a good person," Owen said.