New sheriff in town. Update to this story.
The United States Attorney’s Office in Minnesota announced Wednesday that the 19-year-old woman accused of starting fires in several different buildings last month on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul is now facing federal charges, including attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Those charges stem from an incident federal authorities claim happened in March of last year when she is alleged to have attempted to recruit two fellow St. Kate’s students to “join the jihad in fighting.”
According to a release, U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker announced a three-count indictment against Tnuza Jamal Hassan. In addition to the terrorism charge, Hassan was also charged with making a false statement and arson.
The release states that in an interview with FBI agents last September, Hassan was asked if she authored and delivered a letter to her two fellow St. Kate’s students in March. The letter allegedly sought to encourage fellow students to “join the jihad in fighting” and to “(j)oin Al Qaeda, Taliban, or Al Shabaab.”
The release states authorities claim Hassan made a false statement when she told agents she did not write the letter, did not know who wrote it and did not know how it came to be delivered.
The indictment alleges she did, in fact, write and deliver the letter.
Students at St. Catherine told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they were following what happened with Hassan’s case, and were somewhat surprised to hear about the federal indictment.
“I never expected it,” student Laura Way said. “She was a first-year student, too, and that is especially scary.”
“I definitely never thought that would happen,” added student Allison Monahan.
“St. Kate’s is one of the most inclusive, diverse welcoming schools you can think of.”