A Somali-American teenager barreled his car into a group of pedestrians at Ohio State University in Columbus, before getting out and stabbing people with a butcher knife, according to the authorities and the eyewitness accounts.
Ohio State University Officer Alan Horujko fatally shot the attacker, later identified as 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, after he allegedly refused to drop the weapon.
The episode started after someone pulled a fire alarm in the university’s Watts Hall.
At least 11 people were injured, one critically. Initial police reports indicated the attack was a “shooting,” while several 911 callers described it as a “terrorist attack.”
Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.— OSU Police (@OSUPOLICE) November 28, 2016
However, the authorities later confirmed that the only shots fired were by the police.
“I didn’t see anything with the shooter, what happened was it was outside of MacQuigg Lab. The guy ended up just coming and hopping the curb with his car and trying to mow down a couple people,” witness Jerry Kovacich told the Ohio State Lantern. “He lost control, and I think he ended up hitting three people, and then people were around the car. Somebody asked him if he was OK and the guy just hopped out of the car with a butcher knife and starting chasing people around.”
Another witness told CNN Artan was “completely silent” during the stabbing, adding it was “was very creepy” and that he remained silent “even when he was shot.”
Police cars, fire truck and ambulance line 19th and College avenues near location where active shooter was reported pic.twitter.com/FKJXSMQnan— The Lantern (@TheLantern) November 28, 2016
Investigators are still searching for a motive.
Here is what we know about Abdul Razak Ali Artan so far.
Artan, a legal resident of the United States, arrived in the country with his family in 2014. They were previously living in Pakistan after migrating from Somalia, according to an anonymous U.S. official not authorized to discuss details of the case publicly.
Moreover, Artan was a third-year logistics management student at Ohio State University Business School.
He graduated cum laude from Columbus State Community College in the fall with an Associate of Arts degree and was on the college’s dean’s list in 2015. He also had no record of behavioral or disciplinary issues during his time at the school.
Artan worked at a Home Depot, where an employee anonymously described him as “a nice, nonviolent person. He talked to everybody.”
The store management declined to comment, but a representative confirmed that Artan, currently employed, had worked there for less than a year.
Was “Scared” To Pray In Public
In August 2015, school newspaper Ohio State Lantern featured Artan in an article titled “Humans of Ohio State,” where he lamented the lack of prayer facilities at the campus.
“I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think.” he said, adding he doesn’t blame people for judging him. “It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it and it [sic], it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now [of praying in public]. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”
The teen’s mother, whom a community member described as being in shock over the incident, reportedly said her son had been complaining about his grades.
The Facebook page attributed to him shows his outrage at Muslims being “killed & tortured everywhere.”
Sources: Authorities reviewing Facebook post from earlier 2day to see if connected to #OSU suspect. Posting cites Anwar Awlaki & Burma (1/3)— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) November 28, 2016
Posting says: "I am sick and tired of seeing [Muslims] killed & tortured EVERYWHERE. ... I can’t take it anymore." (2/3)— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) November 28, 2016
Posting adds: "America! Stop interfering with other countries ... [if] you want us Muslims to stop carrying [out] lone wolf attacks." (3/3)— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) November 28, 2016
Facebook post from earlier today that authorities now reviewing was last post on page; preceded mins earlier by this: "Love. Live & forget."— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) November 28, 2016
Police Investigating Links To Terrorism
As ABC News reports, one of the social media post also mentioned New Mexico-born terrorist recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, whom Artan referred to as a “hero.” However, police are still investigating any potential links to terrorism.
Meanwhile, Muslim community has condemned the incident.
“As Ohioans, as Americans and as Muslims, we're shocked by today's senseless attack,” said Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We stand together with Ohioans of all faiths and backgrounds in praying for the speedy recovery of all those who were injured in today's attack.”