UPDATE: Roanoke County stabbing suspect was hearing voices before attack

Wasil Farooqui
Wasil Farooqui(WDBJ)
Published: Aug. 23, 2016 at 8:17 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The man accused of stabbing two people in Roanoke County said he was hearing voices before the attack Saturday night. That new information is part of a police search warrant affidavit.

The warrant says Wasil Farooqui told police he left his home on Pelham Drive Saturday "to clear his head" and took a butcher knife from the kitchen. He drove about a mile to The Pines apartments and parked. Farooqui said he began hearing voices telling him he was stupid and to attack people. He saw two people walking from the pool area and attacked them. Farooqui said he did not know the people or know why he attacked them. Farooqui made the comments to a Roanoke County detective at a hospital Saturday night while undergoing treatment for injuries, according to the warrants.

Roanoke County Public Schools confirmed that Wasil Farooqui attended Hidden Valley Middle School and Hidden Valley High School.

Farooqui attended Hidden Valley Middle School from 2006 to 2009. He went on to attend Hidden Valley High School from 2009 to 2012.

According to Roanoke County Public Schools, Farooqui withdrew from Hidden Valley High School in March 2012. The school system said it could not release any other information about Farooqui because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Farooqui is being represented by Sheila Moheb and Moheb Legal Defense, PLLC.

Moheb said Farooqui has no ties or affiliations to ISIS or any other terrorist organizations.

A Roanoke County spokeswoman says the man wounded in the attack, Karih Rezai, has been released from the hospital. The injured woman, Taramati Harold, is still hospitalized.


The Roanoke County Police Department says they do not believe the attack was an attempted beheading.

The male victim had multiple lacerations on his body, according to investigators.

Additionally, CBS News has learned that earlier this year Farooqui traveled to Germany and Turkey in what may have been an attempt to join ISIS. For some reason, Farooqui returned to the U.S.

Federal investigators are scrubbing Farooqui's communication devices looking for any communications.


According to CBS News, the FBI is investigating whether a random double stabbing in Roanoke County on Saturday was inspired by ISIS.

20-year-old Wasil Farooqui of Roanoke County is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding. Investigators say Farooqui stabbed two people Saturday evening at The Pines Apartments in the 4300 block of Banbury Lane, which is near the Oak Grove Shopping Center. Roanoke County Police say the attack was random.

Taramati Harold and Karih Rezai were hurt. Carilion Clinic doesn't have any information on their current condition, but a county news release Monday night indicated they are recovering well.

A source told CBS News that Farooqui has been on the FBI’s radar for several months and is believed to be self-radicalized. The source also told CBS News that Farooqui tried to go to Syria earlier this year, but only got as far as Europe.

That trip reportedly put him on the radar of law enforcement.

Witnesses told police that during the attack Farooqui was yelling “Allah Akbar.” That translates to “God is the greatest.” The law enforcement source told CBS the FBI is investigating whether the knife attack was possibly inspired by ISIS.

While officers were at the hospital Saturday, police say Farooqui came into the emergency room for treatment of his own injuries. He was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding.

Farooqui is being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond.

Roanoke County Police confirmed Monday that the FBI is helping with the investigation.

On Tuesday morning, WDBJ7 spoke to Christina Bratcher, who said she attended Hidden Valley Middle School with Farooqui. She recalled Farooqui as a very nice guy.

"Mind blown. Everyone was so close in middle school. Everyone knew each other," said Bratcher, who described Farooqui as funny. "He was so happy. Everyone knew him as a happy person. Everybody talked to him, passing the hallway. 'Hey Wasil.' You know, he was a good guy."

People who live in that area tell WDBJ7 that this is a nice family, good neighbors, with no hint of problems.

Most of the people we've spoken with Tuesday morning had heard about the stabbing at the Pines, but didn't know the suspect lived there.

They say that news hit them out of the blue.

Here are the news releases from the Roanoke County Police Department

UPDATE: Monday, August 22, 2016 Witnesses told police that during the attack, Mr. Farooqui was yelling "Allah Akbar." Roanoke County Police immediately contacted the FBI.

"The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening,” said Adam Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident.”

This is all of the information that will be released at this time.


Sunday, August 21, 2016 – Roanoke County Police responded Saturday evening to a reported stabbing at The Pines Apartments in the 4300 block of Banbury Lane (off Rt. 419, near Oak Grove Shopping Center).

Dispatch received a call just before 8:00 p.m. that a male and female had been attacked as they entered the apartment building. Both were attacked with a knife and severely injured. The male was able to fight off the attacker who fled the scene. Roanoke County Fire & Rescue transported both victims to a nearby hospital. Police conducted a search
of the area for the suspect.

While officers were at the hospital with the victims, a male, subsequently identified as 20-year old Wasil Farooqui of Roanoke County, came into the emergency room suffering from injuries of his own. He met the description of the suspect in the stabbing.

Further investigation by police led to the arrest of Mr. Farooqui. He is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding. He is being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. It is believed that this was a random attack and Mr. Farooqui had no connection to the two victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Roanoke County Police Department at (540) 562-3265.