Of­fi­cial: OSU at­tacker railed against the U.S.

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Julie Carr Smyth and An­drew WelshHug­gins

COLUM­BUS, Ohio — The So­mali-born stu­dent who car­ried out the carand-knife at­tack at Ohio State Uni­ver­sity stewed over the treat­ment of Mus­lims while ap­par­ently stay­ing un­der the radar of fed­eral law en­force­ment, un­der­scor­ing the dif­fi­culty au­thor­i­ties face in iden­ti­fy­ing and stop­ping lone wolves bent on vi­o­lence.

Ab­dul Razak Ali Ar­tan was not known to FBI coun­tert­er­ror­ism au­thor­i­ties be­fore Mon­day’s ram­page, which ended with Ar­tan shot to death by po­lice and 11 peo­ple in­jured, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said.

That’s in con­trast to sev­eral other re­cent at­tacks, in­clud­ing in New York and Or­lando, Fla., in which those blamed for the blood­shed had pre­vi­ously cometo the at­ten­tion of fed­eral agents.

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials have not iden­ti­fied a mo­tive for the Ohio State vi­o­lence but have sug­gested ter­ror­ism as a pos­si­bil­ity. FBI agents con­tin­ued to search Ar­tan’s apart­ment for clues.

The mode of at­tack — plow­ing a car into civil­ians, then slash­ing vic­tims with a butcher knife — was in keep­ing with the rec­om­mended tac­tics of ji­hadi pro­pa­ganda.

And Face­book posts that were ap­par­ently writ­ten shortly be­fore the at­tack and came to light af­ter­ward show Ar­tan nursed griev­ances against the U.S.

He railed against U.S. in­ter­ven­tion in Mus­lim lands and warned, “If you want us Mus­lims to stop car­ry­ing lone wolf at­tacks, then make peace” with the Is­lamic State group.

“Amer­ica! Stop in­ter­fer- Ab­dul Razak Ali Ar­tan, who came to the U.S. in 2014, started classes in the fall at Ohio State in Colum­bus. ing with other coun­tries, es­pe­cially the Mus­lim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, re­mem­ber that,” he wrote, us­ing the Ara­bic term for the world’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity. He also warned that other Mus­lims are in sleeper cells, “wait­ing for a sig­nal. I am warn­ing you Oh Amer­ica!”

The posts were re­counted by a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial who was briefed on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion but wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss it pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity. The posts were taken down af­ter the at­tack.

On Tues­day, a self-de­scribed Is­lamic State news agency called Ar­tan “a sol­dier of the Is­lamic State” who “car­ried out the op­er­a­tion in re­sponse to calls to tar­get cit­i­zens of in­ter­na­tional coali­tion coun­tries.”

The Is­lamic State group has pre­vi­ously de­scribed other at­tack­ers around the world as its “sol­diers” with­out specif­i­cally claim­ing to have or­ga­nized the acts of vi­o­lence.

Ar­tan’s so­cial me­dia rants seemed at odds with the por­trait of the young man painted by neigh­bors and ac­quain­tances.

Jack Ouham, owner of a mar­ket near the home on the out­skirts of Colum­bus where Ar­tan lived with his par­ents and sib­lings, saw the Ohio State stu­dent al­most ev­ery day when he stopped in for snacks.

He was never an­gry, Ouham said. “Very nice guy. It’s just shock­ing to me,” he said.

Ar­tan grad­u­ated with hon­ors from Colum­bus State Com­mu­nity Col­lege last May, earn­ing an as­so­ciate of arts de­gree. A video of his grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony shows him jump­ing and spin­ning on stage and smil­ing broadly, draw­ing laughs, cheers and smiles from grad­u­ates and fac­ulty mem­bers.

The school said he had no be­hav­ioral or dis­ci­plinary prob­lems while he was there from the fall of 2014 un­til this past sum­mer.

He started at Ohio State in Au­gust as a busi­ness stu­dent study­ing lo­gis­tics man­age­ment.

A law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said Ar­tan came to the U.S. in 2014 as the child of a refugee. He had been liv­ing in Pak­istan from 2007 to 2014. It is not un­com­mon for refugees to go to a third-party coun­try be­fore be­ing per­ma­nently re­set­tled.

Engi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor Wil­liam Clark, who un­der­went surgery for deep cuts on his leg, re­called at a news con­fer­ence Tues­day be­ing hit by the car from be­hind and be­ing thrown through the air.

“When the car hit me, I re­ally didn’t know what to think,” he said, adding he next heard screams from stu­dents. “That’s when I fig­ured out it was more than a car ac­ci­dent.”

Clark’s tone to­ward the as­sailant was tem­pered.

“As hor­ri­ble as this is, this is one of those iso­lated in­ci­dents,” he said.

Classes for the 60,000 stu­dents at Ohio State re­sumed Tues­day. Three of the vic­tims re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized but were ex­pected to re­cover.

THELANTERN.COM

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