There has been what appears to be a terrorist attack at Ohio State University. We will continue to wait for further information, but considering the perpetrator was a Somali refugee, this appears to be more than just a lone, isolated incident.
“Attack on Ohio State University campus”, news.com, 29 November, 2016:
Police have confirmed that Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, has been identified as the now-deceased suspect. He was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal resident.
The university’s public safety director Monica Moll confirmed Abdul Artan was a student at the campus.
Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said Artan drove over a curb and into pedestrians outside a classroom building, before emerging with a butcher’s knife to continue the attack.
A police officer who was nearby because of a gas leak shot him dead less than a minute later.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs was asked at a news conference whether authorities were considering the possibility that it was a terror attack. Jacobs replied, “I think we have to consider that it is.”
Police have converged on an apartment block believed to have been Artan’s place of residence. Details of that investigation are yet to emerge.
Artan featured in an August edition of an Ohio State University newsletter where he expressed his discomfort at student reaction to his devout prayer routine.
“I wanted to pray … I mean, I’m new here. This is my first day. This place is huge, and I don’t even know where to pray. I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be.”
Islamic State affiliated social media chat rooms have been reporting the attack and calling Artan ‘brother’. However there has been no claim of being associated with the attack.
The American ABC’s Mike Levine is reporting a Facebook timeline linked to Artan makes reference to the extremist Islamic Awlaki group which has ties to both Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
“I am sick and tired of seeing [Muslims] killed & tortured EVERYWHERE. … I can’t take it anymore,” one post made earlier today is said to state.
“America! Stop interfering with other countries … [if] you want us Muslims to stop carrying [out] lone wolf attacks.”The university remained in lockdown for several hours over fears there may have been more than one attacker.
A series of tweets warning students that there was an “active shooter” on campus near the engineering building and that they should “run, hide, fight.”
Numerous police vehicles and ambulances converged on the 60,000-student campus, and authorities blocked off roads.
University police officer Alan Horujko was quickly on the scene.
“The suspect drove his vehicle into a group of pedestrians and there were some injuries that resulted from that,” Monica Moll, the university’s public safety director, told reporters.
“The suspect then got out of the vehicle with a knife and began cutting individuals in the area.
“The officer engaged the suspect and fired shots and used deadly force to stop the threat.”
Police later said CCTV footage confirmed the dead suspect had been the only occupant of the car before the attack.
Angshuman Kapil, a graduate student, was outside the building when the car barrelled 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.About four people were being treated for stab wounds and four were injured by the car, university officials said.
The attack came as students were returning to classes following the thanksgiving holiday break and Ohio State’s football victory over rival Michigan that brought more than 100,000 fans to campus on Saturday.
Television footage showed students leaving school buildings as Rebecca Diehm, spokeswoman for the Columbus fire department, said eight people had been transported to hospital.
One was in a critical condition and the rest were stable, she said. OSU Wexner Medical Center tweeted that it was treating four victims, none with life-threatening injuries.
Students posted images of chairs being stacked against classroom doors, and footage of police at the scene.
Ohio State’s official Twitter page had retweeted a post from OSU Emergency Management saying there is an active shooter on campus in Columbus early on Monday morning.
The tweet said: “Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.”
Watts Hall is a materials science and engineering building.
“Run, hide, fight” is standard protocol for active shooter situations. It means: Run, evacuate if possible; Hide, get silently out of view; or Fight, as a last resort, take action to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter if your life is in imminent danger.
The shelter-in-place warning was lifted about an hour and half later and the campus was declared secure after police concluded there was no second attacker, as rumoured.