A university student, who is a Somalian immigrant, rammed his car into a crowd, at Ohio State University and began attacking people with a butcher knife, injuring 11 before police gunned him down.
Identifying the assailant as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, US state officials said that the alleged, had acted alone in the attack. Also, he made an anti-US posting on Facebook a few minutes prior the attack, on a page that was quickly disabled or taken down by authorities, said the US media.
“I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post quoted by ABC television said, using a term referring to the global community of Muslims. “If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.” Artan also referred to Anwar al-Awlaki, a US born Al Qaeda cleric, as a hero in the facebook post he had posted.
Even though Artan’s dreadful attack lasted just a few minutes, it caused a tense lockdown on the university’s main campus in Columbus, with panicked students hiding in the bathrooms before the scene was declared secure.
According to the officials, there were 11 people who were injured and are now being treated at local hospitals for stabbing wounds and injuries from the motor vehicle. However, fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Columbus police chief, Kim Jacobs said earlier in the day that possibilities for this attack to be terrorism related had risen.
US media also reported that Artan belonged to Somalia, though officials did not confirm the following information. Also, his exact age was not revealed, saying that they believed he was born in 1998. An OSU student of the same name also was profiled in the August issue of student newspaper The Lantern, for an article in which he spoke of the lack of Muslim prayer rooms on campus.
Artan, who was identified as a third-year transfer student studying logistics management, told that he was uncomfortable with praying on campus. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” he said. The chaos comes two months after another man of the same region as Artan’s, stabbed 10 people at a mall in Minnesota, before he was shot to death by an off-duty officer.
The alleged 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, was described ‘radicalized’ and the militant Islamic State (IS) group even claimed the attack as work of their soldier.
Monday’s campus attack unfolded just before 10:00am, when police were informed that a car had ran into the pedestrians on campus, and that the alleged driver, had jumped out the car, holding a large butcher knife. “We could tell that the suspect was in the car by himself,” said Craig Stone, chief of police at the university, describing a review of surveillance camera footage of his grey sedan.
A fire alarm caused the students and staff to empty the building, before the situation could worsen. The attacker “exited the vehicle, and used a butcher knife to start cutting pedestrians”, Stone said. “Our officer was on scene in less than a minute and he ended the situation in less than a minute. He engaged the suspect, and he eliminated the threat.”