Ohio State attack suspect identified as 18-year-old student

COLUMBUS, Ohio– The suspect in Monday’s Ohio State University attack was an 18-year-old of Somali descent, a federal law enforcement official said.

Investigators identified the suspect as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a student at OSU. The car used in the attack was registered to a family member.

A US official says the suspect was a legal permanent resident. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

More coverage on the Ohio State attackĀ here

The suspect rammed his car into a group of pedestrians before using a butcher knife to cut several people, OSU officials said.

At least nine people were hospitalized, including one in critical condition. “Victim injuries include stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated,” OSU said.

Student Jacob Bower, 20, said he saw the attacker outside between the Koffolt Laboratories and Watts Hall.

“He pulled a large knife and started chasing people around, trying to attack them,” Bower told CNN.

“Luckily there were so many people, he couldn’t focus on one target. I didn’t see anyone get stabbed, but I saw the police officer take down the stabber. He waited ’til everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping. (It) took three shots to take him down. (The) stabber had a crazy look in his eyes.”

The officer fatally shot the assailant, eliminating the risk to students, authorities said.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive, and whether the attack is terror-related.

“We have to consider that it is that possibility,” Columbus Police Chief Kimberley Jacobs said.

“We had an attack earlier this year with a man with a knife causing multiple injuries. So we’re always aware that that’s the potential. And we’re going to continue to look at that.”

How it happened

At 9:52 a.m., the assailant drove over a curb and struck pedestrians near Watts Hall, OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.

“He got out of the vehicle and started using 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.”

But as the chaos unfolded, university officials reported an active shooter incident at Watts Hall, the university’s materials science and engineering building.

“Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College,” OSU Emergency Management tweeted at 9:56 a.m.

It’s possible the gunshots heard came from police trying to stop the attacker, a federal law enforcement official said.

Throughout the attack, the assailant didn’t yell or say anything, Bower said.

“He was completely silent, which was very creepy. Not even when he was shot (by police),” the student said.

“The cop that subdued the guy with the knife saved so many lives today.”

Stacking chairs for safety

While students waited to hear word on the attacker’s movements, some piled chairs against a door to block him from getting in.

“I’m safe in a barricaded room,” Harrison Roth tweeted. “If you’re on campus, get in a room and stay safe.”

Ohio State’s Columbus campus is colossal, one of the largest in the United States. The university has more than 65,000 students enrolled across the state.

Students had just returned to class Monday after the Thanksgiving break — and after the OSU football team’s big win Saturday over the school’s biggest rival, the University of Michigan.

Michigan’s athletic department tweeted its support for Ohio State, saying “Stay safe, Buckeyes.”

Students are getting ready for final exams, which begin on December 9.

The incident also comes during the first month of the OSU public safety director’s job. Monica Moll came to the helm on October 31.

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OSU President Michael Drake says the officer commanded the suspect to drop his weapon and he refused. The suspect was “neutralized.” 

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9:52 a.m.: The officer called out that pedestrians had been hit by car, OSU director of public safety.

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The suspect got out of a vehicle with a knife and began cutting individuals, says Monica Moll, OSU director of public safety.

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The suspect was an OSU student, Moll says.

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Moll identified the suspect as Abdul Razak Ali Artan.

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There were two stab victims, hospital staff says.

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One of the victims who was hit by the car suffered skull fracture.

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The campus security system has images of the suspect in the car on different roads, confirming the suspect was in the vehicle by himself.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaking now. He praises the law enforcement officials involved from multiple agencies. 

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“It’s remarkable what these first responders did,” Kasich says. He says this is a lesson to all universities and schools across the country. 

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“We may never find out why this person did what they did,” Kasich says.

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Kasich says the campus will be open tomorrow. “The campus is strong.”

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Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther: “We want to give thanks.” He praises the work of the officer who fatally shot the suspect.

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“This is a diverse, warm and welcoming community,” Ginther says. He asks for people to continue to pray for each other, focus on what brings us together. 

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Investigators will speak to people who knew the suspect. They are still waiting on a search warrant.

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Those injured include faculty, undergrad students, grad students.

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OSU President Drake spoke with three of the victims. He says they were alert, even joking.

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One student waited to come to the hospital until after the lockdown was lifted. President Drake says she was comforted by other students.

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Drake says they are looking into the suspect’s student records. He believes the student was in his first semester. 

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Drake urges people not to jump to conclusions, allow investigators to do their jobs.

Ohio State