Ohio State attacker had criticized media portrayal of Muslims
Investigators are looking into whether a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University that injured 11 people was an act of terror by a Somali-born student who had once criticized the media for its portrayal of Muslims.
The attacker, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife before he was shot to death by a campus police officer, authorities said.
A motive was not immediately known, but police said they were investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The FBI joined the investigation.
Ohio State University police Chief Craig Stone said Artan deliberately drove his small gray Honda over a curb outside an engineering classroom building and then began knifing people. 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!’”
Eleven victims were taken to three Columbus hospitals. Most had been hurt by the car, and two had been stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull.
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.”