COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus, exited the vehicle and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday until he was shot to death by an officer. Police said they are investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.
Eleven people were hurt, one critically.
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.
Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said the assailant deliberately drove his small gray Honda over a curb outside an engineering classroom building and then began stabbing people. A campus officer who happened to be 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 those who were injured were hurt by the car, and at least two were stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull.
Asked at a news conference whether authorities were considering the possibility that it was a terrorist act, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said: “I think we have to consider that it is.”