After striking a crowd of bystanders with his car, a Somali student at Ohio State University attacked several others with a butcher knife. At least 11 people were injured before the police gunned down the attacker. Investigators plan to find whether the 20-year-old suspect had a terrorist motivation.
A campus police officer shot dead Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 20, within a minute. Campus Police Chief Craig Stone told the press that the young police officer who took down the attacker saw Artan knifing his fellow students “right before his eyes.” The police chief also said the suspect declined to “follow” the officer’s commands. So, he shot him.
Authorities declined to link Artan to a terrorist group, while the state governor John Kasich advised investigators to be cautious. Kasich said that we may never learn the true motive, but a probe would bring a lot of new information. The governor also called for patience.
On the other hand, one member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said the assault bore “all of the hallmarks of a terror attack.” U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff of the said committee believes Artan had been “self-radicalized.” Nevertheless, his office refused to elaborate his comments.
An unnamed source told Associated Press that the attacker was born in Somalia and had U.S. citizenship. In August, the student told the campus newspaper, “The Lantern,” that he was a Muslim. At the time, he said he was “scared” about the negative media reports on U.S. Muslims and had no idea where it was safer to pray on campus.
In an interview with The Lantern, Artan said he had recently transferred from Columbus State university where he had prayer rooms. He explained that as a Muslim, he had to pray five times a day.
Since Ohio state has no prayer room, the student thought to “pray in the open” but he changed his mind because of the media. In the interview, he even invited other students to take a look at him and see that he’s not the Muslim portrayed by the media. Still, he was reluctant to pray in public, so he reportedly started praying in a corner.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus disclosed 11 people needed medical attention after the attack. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening. One victim was a faculty staffer while the rest were students.
Some of the patients were injured in the car ramming incident, while others were wounded by knife. One patient sought help later because she had been hiding, while another one was driven to a hospital by a stranger.
Footage from the campus shows one female student with an injured arm being escorted to an ambulance by two medics.
At 09:52 a.m., the suspect began his attack, and at 09:57 the university warned students against an “active shooter on campus.” Faculty officials advised students to “run” and “hide.”
On the other hand, the police said they found no firearm and that the suspect acted alone. A witness told reporters, he saw Artan plowig into people with his car. When he finally stopped the vehicle and one person asked him if he was alright, he got out with a butcher knife and started chasing other students around, the witness said.
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