ST. CLOUD -- Gov. Mark Dayton and other St. Cloud officials on Monday urged Minnesotans to come together following a stabbing attack Saturday here at a local shopping center.

The attack, which authorities are investigating as a possible act of terrorism, comes amid rising racial tensions in the area that local officials and community groups have worked in recent years to counter.

St. Cloud, like other rural cities in Minnesota, has seen its populations diversify with East African immigrants, drawn to the area because of jobs and cheap housing.

"No matter who fear mongers, yells racial epithets, or has myopic ideas about people who are different, that is not representative of this community at large," said St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said "racial tensions in St. Cloud are no different than what's happening across the country" but added that community and faith leaders have worked on "relationship building for a long time."

Dayton, who last year participated in an NAACP forum in St. Cloud on racial disparities, urged all Minnesotans to "rise above this tragic incident and to remember our common humanity and our shared citizenship and our shared desire to live together peacefully and constructively for the benefit of ourselves, our families and our communities."

Dayton pledged state support in the ongoing investigation during his Monday visit in St. Cloud, where he also met privately with the off-duty police officer who shot and killed Dahir A. Adan, the suspected attacker.

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