comscore Terrorism suspected in car-and-knife attack at Ohio State | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Terrorism suspected in car-and-knife attack at Ohio State

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This August 2016 image provided by TheLantern.com shows Abdul Razak Ali Artan in Columbus, Ohio. Authorities identified Abdul Razak Ali Artan as the Somali-born Ohio State University student who plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a knife Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, before he was shot to death by an officer.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Police respond to reports of an active shooter on campus at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS Police respond to reports of an active shooter on campus at Ohio State University today in Columbus, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio >> A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. Police said they were 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 the condition of anonymity. The FBI joined the investigation.

The details emerged after a morning of conflicting reports and confusion, created in part by a series of tweets from the university warning there was an “active shooter” on campus and students should “Run Hide Fight.” The warning was prompted by what turned out to be police gunfire.

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 University police Chief Craig Stone said the assailant deliberately drove his small Honda over a curb outside an engineering classroom building and then began knifing people. A campus officer 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 the man didn’t say anything when he got out.

Most of the injured were hurt by the car, and at least two were stabbed. One had a fractured skull.

Columbus police Chief Kim Jacobs, asked whether authorities were considering the possibility it was a terrorist act, said: “I think we have to consider that it is.”

Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence called the episode “a tragic attack” and said “our prayers are with them all.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the bloodshed “bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalized.”

“Here in the United States, our most immediate threat still comes from lone attackers that are not only capable of unleashing great harm but are also extremely difficult, and in some cases, virtually impossible to identify or interdict,” he said.

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’d transferred from Columbus State in the fall.

He said he was looking for a place to pray openly and worried 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.”

In recent months, federal law enforcement officials have raised concerns about online extremist propaganda encouraging knife and car attacks, easier to pull off than bombings.

The Islamic State group has urged sympathizers online to carry out lone-wolf attacks in their home countries with whatever weapons are available to them.

In September, a 20-year-old Somali-American stabbed 10 people at a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall before being shot to death by an off-duty officer. Authorities said he asked some of his victims if they were Muslim. In the past few years, London and other cities also have seen knife attacks blamed on extremists.

Neighbors said Artan was always polite and attended daily prayer services at a mosque.

Leaders of Muslim organizations and mosques in the Columbus area condemned Monday’s attack while cautioning people against jumping to conclusions or blaming a religion or an ethnicity.

“It is particularly heartbreaking to see this random act of violence come to this community I hold so dear,” said Ohio State graduate Nicole Ghazi, who is active in Islamic organizations.

Surveillance photos showed Artan in the car by himself just before the attack, but investigators are looking into whether anyone else was involved, police said.

The bloodshed came as students were returning to classes following the Thanksgiving break and Ohio State’s football victory over rival Michigan, which brought more than 100,000 fans to campus on Saturday.

“There were several moments of chaos,” said Rachel LeMaster, who works in the engineering college. “We barricaded ourselves like we’re supposed to since it was right outside our door and just hunkered down.”

LeMaster said she and others were eventually led outside the building and she saw a body on the ground.

Classes were canceled for the rest of the day.

The officer who killed the attacker was Alan Horujko, a member of the force for just under two years. Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll said Horujko had done a “fabulous job.”

The initial tweet from Ohio State emergency officials went out around 10 a.m. and said: “Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.” University President Michael Drake said the warning was issued after shots were heard on campus.

“Run, hide, fight” is standard protocol for active-shooter situations. It means: Run away if possible; get out of view; or try to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter if your life is in imminent danger.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (61)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

      • IRT Kimo, as long as the media provides factual and true data news and allow the readers to understand the news, it’s journalism and not “Fake News” as the websites tend to be. Accurate and verified news are welcomed. Stay away from websites posting incorrect information and data.

    • I’m guessing if it were a right wing crazed Trump supporter you would be quite comfortable with the SA leading with this story. If I’m wrong I apologize in advance.

      • Does not matter if the story leads or not. What matters now days is the motivation behind this horrendous action. Was the man a Muslim and jihad his motivation? According to one report his name is Abdul Artan and he was a Somali refugee.

      • Actually, CEI, I’ve been putting the same statement up on various stories SA runs on non-Hawaii violence for a while now. It’s all I can think of doing to try and change the “if it bleeds it leads” culture.

        It can be difficult to know where to draw the line. The way this story was originally reported, it sounded like another “typical” mass shooting (they didn’t even know it was knife attack yet), like we hear about every day. And there’s no need to know about it.

        Now, if there is a terrorism link, I would concede that is something useful for us to know.

        But, for example, I complain if there’s a story about, say, a major car accident in Ohio that involved five cars; just seems gratuitous to share a story like that.

        Admittedly, it’s also me, just getting sick and tired of the violence (of all kinds) in the world. Hard to want to leave the house these days.

      • As in the St. Cloud case, the authorities are still trying to determine the cause of this atrocity. I could tell them, but I would be in the “awaiting moderation” pen again.

        • As a matter of interest, this month a well-publicized poll by an Internet service provider found that most people would rather eschew sex, chocolate, and alcohol before giving up WiFi.

          So long as some folks have WiFi life is worth living, good news day or bad.

    • The SA — your kidding. Deaths and crimes of all kind are treated as the most important news. Most aren’t even from Hawaii but the headlines don’t indicate that. The SA should run out-of-state stories in a separate section. Better yet, not at all unless relevant.

        • Best lesson from this tragedy is that it took somebody with a gun to end the bloodbath. Until Star Trek phasers come on line, it still takes a well-placed bullet to stop a crazed assailant cold.

        • IRT justmyview371:

          In case you haven’t kept up with current evens, Tasers are notoriously prone to failure even after multiple hits in quick succession from several separate devices. There are simply too many physiological and environmental variable to stake your life on one (and that is precisely why Taser equipped cops usually rely on a firearm as well).

          There is, perhaps regrettably, nothing quite like a .45 caliber 230-grain Federal Hydra-Shok slug moving at ~850 feet-per-second if you are talking about service handguns and an unarmored assailant.

          And for wheelgun traditionalists, of equal or better handgun effectiveness is the old Evan Marshall .357 Magnum load: a 125-grain Jacketed Hollow Point fired at 1,400+ feet-per-second.

          For those who have misplaced sympathy for people who have gone berserk and end up shot, be aware that even the vaunted .44 Magnum has had its share of stopping failures unless the central nervous system was hit.

        • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          IRT justmyview371:

          In case you haven’t kept up with current events, Tasers are notoriously prone to failure even after multiple hits in quick succession from several separate devices. There are simply too many physiological and environmental variables to stake your life on one (and that is precisely why Taser equipped cops usually rely on a firearm as well).

          There is, perhaps regrettably, nothing quite like a .45 caliber 230-grain Federal Hydra-Shok slug moving at ~850 feet-per-second if you are talking about service handguns and an unarmored assailant.

          And for wheelgun traditionalists, of equal or better handgun effectiveness is the old Evan Marshall .357 Magnum load: a 125-grain Jacketed Hollow Point fired at 1,400+ feet-per-second.

          For those who have misplaced sympathy for people who have gone berserk and end up shot, be aware that even the vaunted .44 Magnum has had its share of stopping failures unless the central nervous system was hit.

    • Our hearts go out to the people injured and the Ohio State community. I wish we would see an end to this type of nonsense but history speaks otherwise. There are people out there that want to inflict pain and suffering on others for the “injustices” they are experiencing. They look for opportunities and ways to carry it out. They see what makes the headlines and decide to “copy.” It makes me wonder what University and College Leaders who are championing “sanctuary campus’ will do if an “undocumented foreigner” commits a similar copy cat crime on their campus. It’s not far fetched to see this happening again on any campus….sanctuary campus or not…by any colored American citizen or “undocumented foreigner.”

  • Is this guy from Michigan,who’s team lost in Dbl OT to the Ohio Buckeyes? Seeking revenge?
    Wait News Flash! Just in! In my “Crystal Ball”.lol.
    I see Attorney’s rushing to his aide,entering an “Insanity plea” for this attacker…..This is soooo predictable. haaaaaaaaa!

    • Yep, Waldo intended to continue to flood the country with poorly vetted immigrants from third world countries with the ultimate goal of creating a new group of democrat voters. So what if a certain percentage of them are terrorists, the ends justify the means. His Trumpness will put the brakes on this madness.

      • Crooked Nasty hiLIARy wanted to go further and have OPEN BORDERS and now she is hell bent on recounting/stall for time, to get her voter fraud ballots in to over take and shove P.E. Trump & Americans out of the way for HER WAY!!!

    • @bumbai, no, no, it’s not “or.” We saw a public service film at work on how to handle “active shooter” situations. Yes, that’s a thing now. Fighting is always your last resort. The first thing you do is to try and get away (hey, that’s what I did when I was mugged! I ran!). That is the single most important thing you can do. Don’t stop, don’t try and confront the attacker, not if you have an option to get away, don’t do anything else but run. If you can’t get away, you try to hide. And if you hide and are discovered, then you can fight.

      Don’t play macho hero in such a situation, please. It puts your life at risk, and the lives of others. I’ve been mugged @ gunpoint 3 times, and really, things happen so fast you don’t have time to think clearly. The 1st time I didn’t know what to do, but the other times I was more prepared and just took off running.

      • And if you are hiding and able to call 911, by all means do it. Then MUTE your phone.
        You may have family/friends trying to contact you. Your ringing phone will give up your location if a nut job is looking for people to harm/kill. Communicate by text and tell your loved ones your location. Ask them to pass on that info to emergency responders.
        It also helps if you have one or two people designated as the point of contact for your circle of friends/family during emergencies….fire, flood,hurricane etc. That way you make one call and they can cascade the info to the rest of your family.

        • Good info, thanks Tita Girl.

          Waiting for Trumpp’s response on banning and deporting muslims from our country.

  • Somali immigrant granted permanent resident status in the US.

    So this is the thanks we get for giving him refuge from the hell hole where he came from. Perfect example of what’s happening in Europe thanks to having open borders & being “nice” to everyone.

    It doesn’t even matter how the rest of this story unfolds. What matters is that we can all agree that this was really sick.

    • People are saying that suspect might have been sent from Trump and Republicans camp, maybe trying to distract America from the recount of votes up North near the Ohio State campus. Just saying, that’s what people are saying. It does make sense with the proximity the campus has with the states involved in the recount, maybe they see this as a way of distracting America and unite us in this war on terrorism. Makes sense on Trumps part and good move if it unites us. #MAGA

  • Absent explosive this terrorist used the automobile as his weapon of choice which was not used effectively. Next he tried a household knife ineffectively. Too bad for him a campus officer responding on gas leak emergency happened to be a nearby location and shot the terrorist dead! Good job! Hero of the day preventing further mayhem/tragedy. End of story! 1 terrorist killed 10 students knifed/run-down with auto with non-threatening injuries.

  • The open border policy is the globalist agenda for creating a one world government. No borders and everyone will be an earthling. One day in the future this may become a reality. Why and when will be determined by circumstances beyond our experience as humans who has inhabited the world for who knows how long.

    Will a one world government be good for us or would it be a bad day for us earthlings. Movies has depicted how things could be and many of those views of a one world government did not seem to be what our constitution is about.

    The way that this is being done with undercurrents are what makes it spooky due to its violent agenda. War and conquering of others seems to always be the way it has been done for those wanting supremacy.

  • “Columbus police Chief Kim Jacobs, asked whether authorities were considering the possibility it was a terrorist act, said: “I think we have to consider that it is.””

    Yea when a Muslim born outside the USA does something like this you can bet it’s terrorism.

    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. He said ““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.”” NO DUDE it’s not the media that puts that picture in our heads…it’s Muslim terrorists around the world that do it”

  • The obama administration claims they’ll properly vet all of the refugees they want to bring over. Right. Even one attack on an American is one too many. And please spare me your Bleeding Heart rhetoric. Excuses are scant comfort for the victims and their loved ones.

  • “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.”
    – Before 9/11, most americans didn’t give Islam or muslim immigration a second thought, and certainly no one feared Muslims the way they do now. The media didn’t do that, Muslims did.

  • Regarding:
    “A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday…”.

    “A Somali…”
    Surprise, Surprise !!!

Scroll Up