Ohio campus attacker identified as Somali student
A UNIVERSITY student, reportedly of Somali descent, rammed his car into a crowd of people at Ohio State University and attacked them with a butcher knife, injuring 11 before the 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 terror attack.
But officials said they so far had no indication of a motive, and Ohio State president Michael Drake cautioned against jumping to conclusions when asked about any connection to the Somali community.
The whole incident 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 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, but 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, but officials did not confirm that. They did not release his exact age, saying only that they he was born in 1998.
An OSU student of the same name 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.
It took nearly two hours before officials lifted the lockdown, and shocked students and staff began streaming out of buildings. Classes were cancelled for the day.
The rampage comes two months after a Somali immigrant stabbed 10 people at a mall in Minnesota, before he was fatally shot.
Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, was described as “radicalised” and the Islamic State claimed the attack as the work of an IS “soldier”. –