Ohio State Attack Sends 11 to Hospital, Suspect Killed
Police say an Ohio State police officer (pictured) stopped the attack.
Ohio State University police say 11 people were taken to local hospitals and a suspect was killed following an attack on campus Monday morning.
Columbus police say the attack started when 18-year-old OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his vehicle into a crowd of people outside of Watts Hall.
Artan, a Somali-born legal permanent resident of the U.S., then exited his vehicle and began chasing students with a butcher knife. Several students were injured, including one critically.
Less than a minute after the attack began, OSU police officer Alan Horujko arrived on the scene and shot and killed Artan. Officer Horujko had been near Watts Hall because of a gas leak, reports NBC4i.com.
“He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone told media outlets.
Student Jacob Bower, who said he saw the end of the attack, described the OSU officer’s response in more detail.
“I didn’t see anyone get stabbed, but I saw the police officer take down the stabber,” Bower said. “[The officer] waited until everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping. [It] took three shots to take him down. [The] stabber had a crazy look in his eyes.”
University officials initially issued an alert about an active shooter around Watts Hall just before 10 a.m., reminding the campus community of the “Run Hide Fight” response tactic promoted by the Department of Homeland Security. A second alert was soon issued urging students to shelter in place. University officials appear to have mistaken Officer Horujko’s gunfire for the attacker’s.
A motive for the attack has not been revealed, but Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said investigators are considering the possibility that it was a terrorist attack.
NBC News is reporting that Artan posted an anti-American message on his Facebook page shortly before the attack stating in part: “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”
UPDATE Nov. 30, 2016: Another motivation for the attack has just come to light. The Washington Post is reporting that in August, the suspect was profiled by OSU’s student-run newspaper where he said “I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media, ” telling the reporter he was concerned about being shot if he prayed as well as his fears of then-candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward Muslims.
University police, Columbus police, deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and SWAT team members responded to the situation, with many students on campus posting images and videos of the scene on social media. Rachel LeMaster, an employee at the engineering college, said a fire alarm was sounded on campus.
“There were several moments of chaos,” LeMaster said. “We barricaded ourselves like we were supposed to since it was right outside our door and just hunkered down.”
Columbus PD and the FBI are assisting university police in the investigation.
Wexner Medical Center treated two victims who had been hit by the car, two victims who had been stabbed and a fifth victim whose injuries were still being assessed. Two other victims of the knife attack were taken to Ohio Health Grant Medical Center and two people struck by the car were taken to Ohio Health Riverside Methodist Hospital. Other victim injuries are still being assessed.
Watts Hall is the materials science and engineering building on campus.
The shelter in place alert was lifted and students were given the all-clear around 11:40 a.m. Classes at OSU were cancelled for the day, although they resumed Tuesday.
Several campus faith communities have planed vigils for Tuesday night near the Columbus campus.
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