Suspect in Ohio State attack was at least inspired by ISIS, FBI says

COLUMBUS, Ohio-- The Columbus Division of Police and other authorities provided some new information on the attacks at Ohio State University Monday morning.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, suspect in the Ohio State University attack rammed his car into a group of pedestrians before using a butcher knife to cut several people, university officials said. (The Lantern/Kevin Stankiewicz)

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, suspect in the Ohio State University attack rammed his car into a group of pedestrians before using a butcher knife to cut several people, university officials said. (The Lantern/Kevin Stankiewicz via CNN)

OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan rammed his car into a group of people, then got out and began stabbing others with a butcher knife, police said. An OSU police officer shot and killed the suspect when he refused to drop the weapon. Eleven people were injured, but most have been released from Columbus-area hospitals.

FBI Special Agent Angela Byers said it appears Artan was at least inspiried by ISIS. The suspect was not the subject of any previous FBI investigations.

The Islamic State frequently claims responsiblity for attacks when the assailant is dead because they can't refute it, Byers said.

Investigators are trying to determine Artan's whereabouts before the assault. So far, they know he purchased a knife at a Walmart, but it is not clear if it was the same knife he used to slash the victims.

An Ohio State spokesperson provided the following information about Artan's studies at the university:

  • Majoring in Logistics Management (Fisher College of Business)
  • Transfer student from Columbus State Community College; this was his first semester at Ohio State.
  • The threshold for senior status is 90 credit hours. Artan transferred to Ohio State with 91 credit hours.
  • Enrolled in 14.5 credit hours for autumn 2016

Artan came to the United States as a Somali refugee through Pakistan.

Anyone with information on where Artan was prior to the attack should call the Cincinnati Division of the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

More stories on the OSU attack here

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:34 pm

FBI Agent Angela Byers says the officer involved acted swiftly, she also says the university wisely activated the Buckeye Alert system.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:35 pm

Byers says it appears the suspect was at least inspired by ISIS. So far, it looks as though he was the only one involved.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:36 pm

Byers asked for anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts Monday morning to call 1-800-CALL-FBI

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:38 pm

Columbus police say this is a two-part investigation. First into the attacker and second into the police-involved shooting.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:39 pm

The case will be turned over to the prosecutor’s office once the investigation is complete. Some details will not be released because this is an ongoing investigation. 

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:41 pm

The suspect was a refugee. FBI Agent Byers reiterates that he may have been inspired by ISIS.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:43 pm

Byers says ISIL, or ISIS, often claims responsibility for attacks when the assailant is dead because they can’t refute it.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:44 pm

The suspect purchased a knife at Walmart the morning of the attack. They do not know if that was the exact knife used.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:47 pm

The suspect was not the subject of any previous FBI investigation.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:48 pm

Byers says law enforcement does its best to monitor social media, within the limits of the law, to try to prevent these types of attacks. But there was no indication previously. His Facebook post was made that morning, if it is authentic.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:50 pm

Byers says she can’t disclose what’s they’re learning from their interviews.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:50 pm

Columbus police say anyone in the Somali community who feels threatened should contact police. They have not received any such calls.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:51 pm

OSU public safety director says the police involved is in good spirits, they are impressed by his humility and his concern for the victims.

Jen Steer November 30, 20161:52 pm

FBI Agent Byers says it’s too early to tell if this is terrorism. She can’t discuss what they found during their search at the home.

James G. Jackson Columbus Police Academy