A man barreled his car into a crowd at Ohio State University before exiting the vehicle and stabbing people with a butcher knife in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday morning, authorities said. Details are still emerging, but here’s what we know so far:
The suspect, who has been identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, drove a car over a curb and into a crowd of people on campus, then got out and attacked students with a butcher knife. Authorities later added that Artan (who was shot and killed by a police officer at the scene) was a student at the school.
“[The] only thing that we can say based on common knowledge is that this was done on purpose,” Ohio State University Police Chief Craig Stone said at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Details of the attack emerged under confusion, after school officials initially reported an “active shooter” on the OSU campus shortly before 10 am. The university’s emergency management team told people to ‘Run Hide Fight’ on Twitter. The attack occurred near an engineering building on campus, according to the Associated Press.
About an hour later, the school said the scene was secured and lifted the order to shelter in place.
Angshuman Kapil, a graduate student, told the AP he was outside the building when the car came over the sidewalk. “It just hit everybody who was in front,” he said. “After that everybody was shouting, ‘Run! Run! Run!’.”
Asked if authorities were considering the possibility that the attack was a terrorist act, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said, “I think we have to consider that it is.”
How many people were injured?
Eleven people were injured and taken to the hospital, and one was in critical condition, said Stone in the press conference.
The victims were divided among three places for treatment: the OSU Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Stone said.
University officials said at least two victims were being treated for stab wounds, four were hurt by the car and two were being treated for cuts, the AP reported.
Who was the suspect?
The Ohio State University police department confirmed that an officer named Alan Horujko shot and killed the suspect Monday morning.
Officials identified him as an 18-year-old man of Somali descent called Abdul Razak Ali Artan. He was living in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident, after leaving his homeland with his family in 2007 and living in Pakistan until 2014. He lived briefly in a temporary shelter in Dallas before settling in Ohio, NBC reports.
NBC reported that Artan wrote on his Facebook page that he had reached a “boiling point” and made a reference to “lone wolf attacks.” “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post said.
Artan, who attended Columbus State Community College before moving on to Ohio State University, told the Lantern, a campus publication, that at the beginning of his time at Ohio State he was “kind of scared” to pray in the open.
“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media,” he said. “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, what’s going to happen… I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”
What have the responses been?
OSU President Michael Drake called the event a “tragic situation”. “This is obviously a tragic situation and something we prepare for every year,” he said. Drake added that he was “so grateful that our police were there on the scene and were able to neutralize the situation” and that “we all live with the fear that things like this can happen to us.”
President Barack Obama was informed about the attack at the school, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing Monday. “There’s still a lot of information to review and collect but obviously this is a difficult situation and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Columbus and OSU at this time,” Earnest said.
Hassan Omar, president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, told NBC that the incident was a huge shock to the Somali community. “Every Somali person has been calling me, and everybody is crying,” he said. “In Columbus, we live in a very peaceful community. This is going to affect the life of everybody.”