Ohio at­tack: Pos­si­ble ter­ror link be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, say po­lice

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether an at­tack at Ohio State Univer­sity which left 11 in­jured was an act of ter­ror.

Ab­dul Razak Ali Ar­tan, 18, rammed his car into a group of pedes­tri­ans at the col­lege and then be­gan stab­bing peo­ple be­fore po­lice shot him dead on Mon­day.

The stu­dent’s mo­tive is still not known, but ter­ror­ism is a pos­si­bil­ity, po­lice chief Kim Ja­cobs said.

How­ever, Ar­tan was not pre­vi­ously known to the au­thor­i­ties, an anony­mous source told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Con­flict­ing re­ports have be­gun to emerge sur­round­ing Ar­tan’s char­ac­ter.

Stu­dent jour­nal­ist Kevin Stankiewicz in­ter­viewed him on his first day on cam­pus and said “he did not seem an­gry”, and was more wor­ried about in­tim­i­dat­ing oth­ers.

But US me­dia have claimed Ar­tan may have posted a rage­filled rant to Face­book shortly be­fore the at­tack took place.

An of­fi­cer in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion told NBC a post ap­peared on a Face­book page be­lieved to be­long to Ar­tan say­ing “I can’t take it any­more” and ref­er­enc­ing “lone wolf at­tacks” and al-Qaeda cleric An­war al-Awlaki.

The post con­tin­ued: “Amer­ica! Stop in­ter­fer­ing with other coun­tries, es­pe­cially Mus­lim Ummah [com­mu­nity]. We are not weak.”

But a post from two hours ear­lier is re­ported to have read: “For­give and for­get. Love.”

The page has since been dis­abled, ac­cord­ing to AFP.

Asked whether it was a ter­ror­ist act, Po­lice Chief Ja­cobs told re­porters: “I think we have to con­sider that it is.”

She added: “Ob­vi­ously with the pur­pose­ful in­tent that was no­ticed - driv­ing on the side­walk we’re go­ing look at it from the po­ten­tial that it was planned.”

The FBI have joined the in­quiry at the 60,000-stu­dent cam­pus in Colum­bus.

Ar­tan, said to be a So­mali

refugee who was liv­ing in the US as a le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dent, stud­ied lo­gis­tics man­age­ment in the col­lege of Busi­ness at Ohio State, re­ports the Colum­bus Dis­patch.

The in­ci­dent be­gan at 10:00 lo­cal time on Mon­day when a ve­hi­cle jumped the kerb at the cam­pus, strik­ing pedes­tri­ans near Watts Hall, the sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing build­ing.

Ohio State Po­lice Chief Craig Stone said the driver got out of the ve­hi­cle and be­gan stab­bing by­standers with a “butcher’s knife”.

A po­lice­man who was nearby be­cause of a gas leak shot the driver dead in less than a minute.

Au­thor­i­ties iden­ti­fied the of­fi­cer as 28-year-old Alan Horu­jko, who has been with Ohio State Univer­sity po­lice since 2015.

The in­jured in­cluded a mix of aca­demic fac­ulty, main­te­nance staff, and grad­u­ate and un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

Cam­pus po­lice say that CCTV cam­eras filmed the sus­pect ar­riv­ing on cam­pus alone, in­di­cat­ing that he did not have an ac­com­plice aid­ing him dur­ing the at­tack.

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,” he said.

The col­lege had warned stu­dents in a tweet to “Run Hide Fight”, warn­ing there was an “ac­tive shooter”, though au­thor­i­ties later said the at­tacker did not use a firearm.

In re­cent months, fed­eral of­fi­cials have warned about ex­trem­ist ef­forts to re­cruit peo­ple for knife and car at­tacks, which are seen as eas­ier for home-grown rad­i­cals to carry out than bomb­ings.

The so-called Is­lamic State group has urged sym­pa­this­ers to use what­ever weapons are avail­able to them to carry out at­tacks.

It also called on fol­low­ers to use ve­hi­cles to at­tack the Thanks­giv­ing Day pa­rade in New York City over the week­end.

Pho­to­graph: AP

Peo­ple at­tend a light­ing ceremony for the Na­tional Christ­mas tree at Cathe­dral square in Vil­nius, Lithua­nia on Satur­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.