Terrorism suspected in car-and-knife attack at Ohio State

Crime scene investigators collect evidence from the pavement as police respond to an attack on campus at Ohio State University, Monday. Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2016 Photo by John Minchillo (AP), St. George News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by an officer. Police said they are investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.

This August 2016 image provided by TheLantern.com shows Abdul Razak Ali Artan in Columbus, Ohio. Authorities identified Abdul Razak Ali Artan as the Somali-born Ohio State University student who plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a knife Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, before he was shot to death by an officer. | Photo by Kevin Stankiewicz/TheLantern.com via AP, St. George News
This August 2016 image provided by TheLantern.com shows Abdul Razak Ali Artan in Columbus, Ohio. Authorities identified Abdul Razak Ali Artan as the Somali-born Ohio State University student who plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a knife Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, before he was shot to death by an officer. | Photo by Kevin Stankiewicz/TheLantern.com via AP, St. George News

Eleven people were hurt and taken to three Columbus hospitals. Most had been hurt by the car, and two had been stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull.

The attacker was identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan. He was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The FBI joined the investigation.

The details emerged after a morning of confusion and conflicting reports, created in part by a series of tweets from the university warning that there was an “active shooter” on campus and that students should “run, hide, fight.” The warning was prompted by what turned out to be police gunfire.

Numerous police vehicles and ambulances converged on the 60,000-student campus, and authorities blocked off roads. Students barricaded themselves inside offices and classrooms, piling chairs and desks in front of doors, before getting the all-clear an hour and a half later.

Police cover the body of a suspect outside Watts Hall on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, following an attack on campus that left several people injured on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. The man, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a group of pedestrians and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. | Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News
Police cover the body of a suspect outside Watts Hall on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, following an attack on campus that left several people injured on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. The man, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a group of pedestrians and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. | Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News

Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said that the assailant deliberately drove his small gray Honda over a curb outside an engineering classroom building and then began knifing people. A campus officer, Alan Horujko, 28, who was nearby because of a gas leak arrived on the scene and shot the driver in less than a minute, Stone said.

Angshuman Kapil, a graduate student, was outside Watts Hall when the car barreled onto the sidewalk.

“It just hit everybody who was in front,” he said. “After that everybody was shouting, ‘Run! Run! Run!'”

Student Martin Schneider said he heard the car’s engine revving.

“I thought it was an accident initially until I saw the guy come out with a knife,” Schneider said, adding that the man didn’t say anything when he got out.

Most of the injured were hurt by the car, and at least two were stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull.

Students gather near the scene of an attack on the campus at Ohio State University on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News
Students gather near the scene of an attack on the campus at Ohio State University on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News

Asked at a news conference whether authorities were considering the possibility it was a terrorist act, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said: “I think we have to consider that it is.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that while the bloodshed is still under investigation, it “bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalized.”

“Here in the United States, our most immediate threat still comes from lone attackers that are not only capable of unleashing great harm, but are also extremely difficult, and in some cases, virtually impossible to identify or interdict,” he said.

Police stand guard outside a residence of interest as a neighbor exits his home during their investigation into an earlier attack at the Ohio State University campus, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | AP Photo/John Minchillo, St. George News
Police stand guard outside a residence of interest as a neighbor exits his home during their investigation into an earlier attack at the Ohio State University campus, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | AP Photo/John Minchillo, St. George News

Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, ran an interview in August with a student named Abdul Razak Artan, who identified himself as a Muslim and a third-year logistics management student who had just transferred from Columbus State in the fall.

He said he was looking for a place to pray openly and worried about how he would be received.

“I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be,” he told the newspaper. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.”

Ohio State University president Michael Drake, second from left, and Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer at the Wexner Medical Center, walk toward a press briefing following an attack on campus on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 outside the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Nine people were hospitalized after a man ran into pedestrians with his car then exited his vehicle and began cutting victims with a butcher knife. | Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch) /The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News
Ohio State University president Michael Drake, second from left, and Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer at the Wexner Medical Center, walk toward a press briefing following an attack on campus on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 outside the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Nine people were hospitalized after a man ran into pedestrians with his car then exited his vehicle and began cutting victims with a butcher knife. | Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch) /The Columbus Dispatch via AP, St. George News

Inrecent months, federal law enforcement officials have raised concerns about online extremist propaganda that encourages knife and car attacks, which are easier to pull off than bombings.

The Islamic State group has urged sympathizers online to carry out “lone wolf” attacks in their home countries with whatever weapons are available to them.

Artan was not known to the FBI prior to Monday’s attack, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Dozens of FBI agents began searching Artan’s apartment Monday night.

Neighbors said he was always polite and attended daily prayer services at a mosque on the city’s west side.

In September, a 20-year-old Somali-American stabbed 10 people at a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall before being shot to death by an off-duty officer. Authorities said he asked some of his victims if they were Muslim. In the past few years, London and other cities around the globe have also seen knife attacks blamed on extremists.

Surveillance photos showed Artan in the car by himself just before the attack, but investigators are looking into whether anyone else was involved, the campus police chief said.

Louann Carnahan, a neighbor of a suspect police are investigating into an earlier attack at Ohio State University campus, speaks during an interview, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | AP Photo/John Minchillo, St. George News
Louann Carnahan, a neighbor of a suspect police are investigating into an earlier attack at Ohio State University campus, speaks during an interview, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | AP Photo/John Minchillo, St. George News

The bloodshed came as students were returning to classes following the Thanksgiving break and Ohio State’s football victory over rival Michigan that brought more than 100,000 fans to campus on Saturday.

“There were several moments of chaos,” said Rachel LeMaster, who works in the engineering college. “We barricaded ourselves like we’re supposed to since it was right outside our door and just hunkered down.”

LeMaster said she and others were eventually led outside the building, and she saw a body on the ground.

Classes were canceled for the rest of the day. Several prayer vigils were held Monday night to support the victims and the community.

Students said they were nervous about returning and planned to take precautions such as not walking alone.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking going back to class right after it,” said Kaitlin Conner, 18, of Cleveland, who said she had a midterm exam to take Tuesday.

This undated image provided by the Ohio State University Police shows officer Alan Horujko. A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a knife Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, before he was shot to death by a police officer. The officer who gunned the attacker down was identified Horujko, a nearly two-year member of the force. | Ohio State University Police via AP, St. George News
This undated image provided by the Ohio State University Police shows officer Alan Horujko. A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a knife Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, before he was shot to death by a police officer. The officer who gunned the attacker down was identified Horujko, a nearly two-year member of the force. | Ohio State University Police via AP, St. George News

The officer who gunned the attacker down was identified as 28-year-old Alan Horujko, a member of the force for just under two years.

The initial tweet from Ohio State emergency officials went out around 10 a.m. and said: “Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.” University President Michael Drake said the warning was issued after shots were heard on campus.

“Run, hide, fight” is standard protocol for active shooter situations. It means: Run away if possible; get out of view; or try to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter if your life is in imminent danger.

Written by: ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS and JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press with writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Eric Tucker in Washington, Collin Binkley in Boston and Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributing to this story.

Updated Nov. 29 6 a.m. – Photos and quotes added.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

9 Comments

  • Real Life November 28, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Islam, the religion of peace. Yep, we need to invite more of these poor souls into our country.

    • .... November 29, 2016 at 5:42 am

      Wow what a profound statement

      • Real Life November 29, 2016 at 7:50 am

        Hey look who came back down! Welcome back, the real Dumpster!

        • ladybugavenger November 29, 2016 at 11:35 am

          HaHa I was getting bored of the imposter 😉

  • Christmas Bob November 28, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    They bring people over as “refugees” and have basically no idea of their history or crimes they committed in their home countries. Somalia is one of the most violent countries in the world and the guy may have been a child soldier or who knows what. Like trump has said, if we’re gonna bring in people to our country, why not bring in the best and brightest. Instead we bring in mystery people from the worst and violent places on earth. This looks less like terrorism and more like a failure of the ‘refugee program’

    • .... November 29, 2016 at 5:44 am

      Wow ! Just think Bob more material for you to come up with another one of your idiotic conspiracy theories

      • Henry November 29, 2016 at 7:35 am

        It’s not a “conspiracy theory” when it’s supported by facts, genius.

      • ladybugavenger November 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

        It’s Christmas Bob ?

  • Henry November 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    It’s being reported that in the hours before the attack, the perpetrator posted on Facebook that he was”sick and tired of his Muslim brothers being killed and tortured” and cited the Islamic terrorist/cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Leave a Reply