A refugee from Somalia stabbed multiple people before being shot dead by police at Ohio State University on November 28. He has been named as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18. School authorities did not comment on terrorism connections but said that “this was done on purpose.”
OSU police tweeted before 10 a.m. “active shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.” A subsequent tweet asked people to avoid the area around the school. While another said that the activity was centered around the “north campus area.”
Initial reports indicated that the attack was a “shooting.” Officials later said that the only shots fired were by police.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. Artan Was ‘Silent’ During the Stabbing
One witness told CNN that Artan was “completely silent” during the stabbing. The witness said Artan “was very creepy.” The silence remained “even when he was shot.”
A witness told NBC Columbus’ Matt Edwards that “a fire alarm was pulled, people cleared Watts Hall, then a car came along and started hitting those who evacuated.” The Columbus Dispatch reports that the person in the car had a “large knife.” Officials later said that Artan got out of the car and began slashing students.
A witness, Jerry Kovacich, told the Ohio State Lantern about his experiences saying:
I didn’t see anything with the shooter, what happened was it was outside of MacQuigg Lab. The guy ended up just coming and hopping the curb with his car and trying to mow down a couple people.
He lost control, and I think he ended up hitting three people, and then people were around the car. Somebody asked him if he was OK and the guy just hopped out of the car with a butcher knife and starting chasing people around.
In total, eleven people were injured at the campus. Only one of the injured was considered to be in critical condition, the rest are all stable. WSYX reporter Brooks Jarosz tweeted that six trauma surgeons have been requested at the school’s Wexner Medical Center. Four victims were received there, none with life-threatening injuries.
CNN’s Steve Brusk reports that three patients at the Grant Medical Center in Columbus all have “non-life threatening injuries.”
Ohio football writer Tony Gerdeman tweeted that a person was slashed in the leg with a machete at the school. While NBC Columbus’ Ted Hart reports that the person who was slashed is a professor at the school.
Artan was shot dead by an Ohio State University cop named Alan Horujko, 28. That occurred “one minute” after the initial 911 call. It’s believed that he was acting alone. According to scanner traffic, a car with Massachusetts plates is said to be at the center of the investigation. Officials said that Artan was shot after refusing to drop his weapon.
To read the latest on the Ohio State University shooting in Spanish, click here:
2. Artan Said in August 2015: ‘I’m a Muslim, It’s Not What the Media Portrays Me to Be’
In the August 25 edition of the Ohio State Lantern, Artan was featured in the “Humans of Ohio State” feature. During his interview, Artan bemoaned the lack of pray facilities at OSU. He stresses in the piece that he needs to pray five times a day.
Artan adds, “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think.” He concludes that he doesn’t blame people for judging him. “It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now [of praying in public]. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”
3. Artan Was a Legal Resident of the United States
Ali was a student at Ohio State University and was a legal resident of the United States, reports NBC News. The network adds that Artan was a refugee from Somalia. According to NBC’s Pete Williams, Artan was admitted to the U.S. in 2014 having previously lived in Pakistan since 2007. He first lived in Dallas upon entering the United States. Artan had been a logistics student at the OSU business school.
In May 2016, Artan was listed as a graduate of the Columbus State Community College. He was a student of the school of arts and sciences. During his Humans of Ohio State piece, Artan complimented the prayer facilities at Columbus State Community College. The school said, in a statement to ABC News:
Abdul Razak Ali Artan was enrolled at Columbus State Community College from autumn semester 2014 through summer semester 2016. He graduated with an associate of arts degree in spring of 2016 and then continued taking additional noncredit classes through summer semester 2016.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Artan lived on the West Side of the city. Residents of his apartment complex say that bomb squad and other investigators have been there since around 11 a.m.
Speaking to NBC News, the president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, Hassan Omar, said:
Every Somali person has been calling me, and everybody is crying. This is a shock. As a Somali community here, we are in a state of shock. In Columbus, we live in a very peaceful community. This is gonna affect the life of everybody. We are American and we don’t want somebody to create this problem.
4. Facebook Posts Attributed to Artan Talk of His Outrage at Muslims Being ‘Killed & Tortured EVERYWHERE’
ABC News’ Mike Levine reports that investigators are looking into a “declaration” that was posted on Artan’s Facebook page. The rant reads, according to Levine, “I am sick and tired of seeing [Muslims] killed & tortured EVERYWHERE.” It adds, “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.”
5. The Attack Came as Ohio Lawmakers Debate Reducing Penalties for Carrying Guns on Campus
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio lawmakers are in the process of debating House Bill 48. The law would allow schools to determine their own policies on carrying guns on campus.
Officials have not publicly revealed what the motive for the attack was. While Officer Horujko’s family are also refusing to comment until the investigation is over, according to 10TV reporter Kevin Landers.
The school was on lockdown for around two hours following the shooting. All classes were later canceled by school authorities. The school will return to normal on November 29.
There are over 65,000 students enrolled at Ohio State University. Watts Hall, where the shooting was first reported, is the Material Science and Engineering building. There are three classrooms inside. After losing to OSU on November 26, the Michigan Athletics Twitter account tweeted, “Stay safe, Buckeyes.”
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