On Monday morning, an Ohio State University student intentionally ran a car into pedestrians on a busy campus sidewalk and began slashing bystanders with a butcher knife. The incident left 11 students staff members injured and set off panic at one of the nation’s largest universities.
Within a minute of the attack, a university officer fatally shot the suspect. However, the campus remained on lockdown for about an hour and a half as people ran for cover in academic buildings and dorms.
Investigators are finding out whether the attack was an act of terrorism or not, and are seeking information on the student, Abdul Artan. Abdul is a permanent US resident from Somalia who was studying logistics management at Ohio State.
The F.B.I. was investigating Facebook comments that indicate he may have felt Muslims were being harassed.
The Lantern, the student newspaper, published an interview with Mr. Artan last summer in which he was complaining about being scared to pray in public as a Muslim, because of others negative perceptions of the religion.
He told the paper that as a Muslim, he was scared of everything going on in the media and that he is not what the media portrays him to be. If people see a Muslim praying, who knows what they would think or what would happen. Abdul says he doesn’t blame them because the media put that picture in their heads.
The attack began Monday at 9:50 a.m. Angshuman Kapil, a graduate student, explains that a car suddenly appeared on the sidewalk at high speed, hitting whoever came in front of him. The car only stopped when it hit a concrete block.
The driver jumped out and began attacking people with a knife. Alan Horujko, a campus police officer, shot Mr. Artan after failing to follow orders to drop his weapon. Officials credit the officer with helping to save lives. University officials say they expect all of the wounded to survive.
The car hit six people, and five have cuts or stab wounds. They are receiving treatment at three hospitals.
There is no evidence of Mr. Artan having any connection to radical ideology. Though no terrorist group claims responsibility for the attack, the Islamic State was updating its online audience Monday on the rampage.
Both the car and the knife attacks are established forms of aggression by the Islamic State. In Nice, France, an attacker drove a delivery truck killing dozens of pedestrians in July. Communication between an attacker in Germany and his Islamic State handler show he was told to use a car for his assault that same month. However, he settled on using an ax due to not have a driving permit.
Ohio State University
Ohio authorities say that it’s too soon to know Mr. Artan’s motivation, but it is clear the attack was deliberate. Squad cars, a bomb squad vehicle, and crime scene tape surrounded Mr. Artan’s Columbus home Monday afternoon, while officials were waiting for a search warrant.
Chief Craig Stone of the Ohio State University Police says this was no accident. To drive on the sidewalk, strike pedestrians, then get out and start striking with a knife, that was on purpose.
The attack startled students returning to class after Thanksgiving break, and lead to a 90-minute shelter-in-place and a warning from campus officials to “Run Hide Fight.”