Ohio at­tacker an­gry at US in­ter­fer­ence Fum­ming Face­book posts found

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A univer­sity stu­dent whose fam­ily im­mi­grated from So­ma­lia rammed his car Mon­day into a crowd at Ohio State Univer­sity and at­tacked them with a butcher knife, in­jur­ing 11 be­fore po­lice fa­tally shot him.

Iden­ti­fy­ing the as­sailant as Ab­dul Razak Ali Ar­tan, of­fi­cials in the north­ern US state said he ap­peared to have acted alone in what was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a pos­si­ble ter­ror at­tack. He also ap­pears to have made an anti-US post­ing on Face­book minutes be­fore the at­tack, on a page that was quickly dis­abled or taken down by au­thor­i­ties, US me­dia said. “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,” the post quoted by ABC tele­vi­sion said, us­ing a term re­fer­ring to the global com­mu­nity of Mus­lims. “If you want us Mus­lims to stop car­ry­ing lone wolf at­tacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep un­less you give peace to the Mus­lims.”

Ar­tan also re­ferred to An­war al-Awlaki, a USborn Al-Qaeda cleric, as a hero in the post­ing. His shock­ing at­tack lasted just a few minutes-from the car ca­reen­ing into the crowd un­til the sus­pect was shot dead-but trig­gered a tense lock­down on the univer­sity’s main cam­pus in Colum­bus, with pan­icked stu­dents hid­ing in bath­rooms be­fore the scene was de­clared se­cure.

Of­fi­cials said 11 peo­ple were be­ing treated at lo­cal hos­pi­tals for stab­bing wounds and in­juries from the mo­tor ve­hi­cle. None of their in­juries were life-threat­en­ing. Colum­bus po­lice chief Kim Ja­cobs said ear­lier in the day they were con­sid­er­ing the “pos­si­bil­ity” that it was ter­ror­ism re­lated. US me­dia re­ported that Ar­tan was of So­mali de­scent, though of­fi­cials did not con­firm that in­for­ma­tion. They did not re­lease his ex­act age, say­ing only that they be­lieved he was born in 1998.

An OSU stu­dent of the same name also was pro­filed in the Au­gust is­sue of stu­dent news­pa­per The Lantern, for an article in which he spoke of the lack of Mus­lim prayer rooms on cam­pus. Ar­tan, who was iden­ti­fied as a third-year trans­fer stu­dent study­ing lo­gis­tics man­age­ment, told the pa­per he was un­com­fort­able with pray­ing on cam­pus. “If peo­ple look at me, a Mus­lim pray­ing, I don’t know what they’re go­ing to think, what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” he said. The ram­page comes two months af­ter a So­mali im­mi­grant stabbed 10 peo­ple at a mall in Min­nesota, be­fore he was fa­tally shot by an off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer. The Min­nesota as­sailant, 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, was de­scribed as “rad­i­cal­ized” and the Is­lamic State group claimed the at­tack as the work of an IS “sol­dier.”

A tense lock­down

Mon­day’s at­tack un­folded just be­fore 10:00 am (1500 GMT), when po­lice were alerted that a car had struck pedes­tri­ans on cam­pus, and that the driver had jumped out wield­ing a large knife. “We could tell that the sus­pect was in the car by him­self,” said Craig Stone, chief of po­lice at the univer­sity, de­scrib­ing a re­view of sur­veil­lance cam­era footage of his grey sedan. A fire alarm, which in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved to be un­re­lated, had caused stu­dents and staff to evac­u­ate a build­ing prior to the at­tack.

The at­tacker “ex­ited the ve­hi­cle, and used a butcher knife to start cut­ting pedes­tri­ans,” Stone said. “Our of­fi­cer was on scene in less than a minute and he ended the sit­u­a­tion in less than a minute. He en­gaged the sus­pect, and he elim­i­nated the threat.” Af­ter the sus­pect was shot dead by the re­spond­ing of­fi­cer, iden­ti­fied as 28-year-old Alan Haru­jko, univer­sity of­fi­cials sent out a cam­pus-wide alert to ini­ti­ate a lock­down due to a pos­si­ble ac­tive shoot­ing in­ci­dent. SWAT teams fanned out across the fa­cil­ity and an FBI team was also on the scene, search­ing build­ings for any ad­di­tional sus­pects.

Screams and run­ning

It took nearly two hours be­fore of­fi­cials lifted the lock­down, and shocked stu­dents and staff be­gan stream­ing out of build­ings. The univer­sity can­celed classes for the rest of the day. “I was right there,” stu­dent Joseph Noll told Colum­bus tele­vi­sion sta­tion WBNS. “I just heard some screams, and I saw peo­ple run­ning.”

Cyd­ney Ire­land told ABC she was walk­ing out of class when she also heard screams. “Ev­ery­body was run­ning in any di­rec­tion they pos­si­bly could, stu­dents were run­ning out of the class­room build­ing,” she said from her hid­ing spot in a locked bath­room. Ohio State has roughly 60,000 stu­dents on the main cam­pus in Colum­bus, which sprawls across more than 1,900 acres (770 hectares). A num­ber of vig­ils and gath­er­ings were planned, as univer­sity of­fi­cials of­fered stu­dent and staff coun­sel­ing. “Days such as these test our spirit,” univer­sity pres­i­dent Michael Drake said in a note to stu­dents and staff, “But to­gether we re­main uni­fied in the face of ad­ver­sity.” “I en­cour­age any­one in our com­mu­nity in need of as­sis­tance to uti­lize the univer­sity’s re­sources,.” Classes are sched­uled to re­sume yes­ter­day.

“Our hearts go out to the fam­i­lies of those af­fected in Ohio-a tragic at­tack. Our prayers are with them,” said Vice pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence in New York. “While we do not yet have con­fir­ma­tion of ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions, this is the type of indis­crim­i­nate vi­o­lence our en­e­mies are urg­ing their fol­low­ers to use against us,” House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Michael Mc­Caul said in a state­ment. “What­ever the case, we will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to en­sure any po­ten­tial ac­com­plices or in­sti­ga­tors are found and brought to jus­tice.” —AFP

COLUM­BUS, Ohio: Guests stand for a mo­ment af­ter light­ing their can­dles dur­ing a vigil at St. Stephen’s Epis­co­pal Church on Mon­day. —AP

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