At least nine people suffered injuries Monday, officials said, after an attacker drove into a group of pedestrians with a vehicle on Ohio State University’s campus before using a weapon to cut several people.
One of those injured is listed as in critical condition, while others suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
A university spokeswoman said in a press conference that the campus police received an alert at about 9:52 a.m. ET that a vehicle had gone over a curb on campus and struck pedestrians.
A campus police officer arrived at the scene, where the assailant had gotten out of his vehicle and begun to attack people with a large butcher knife, Chief Craig Stone of the Ohio State campus police, said.
The suspect was identified by campus police in a press conference on Monday afternoon as Abdul Razak Ali Artan. NBC, citing law enforcement officials, reported that Artan was an 18-year-old Somali refugee who came to the US legally with his parents in 2014 after living in Pakistan for seven years.
Campus police officer Alan Horujko fatally shot the suspect on Monday morning, OSU police told NBC.
Reports of more suspects are “being checked out,” a campus police officer told reporters, but there is no indication that the attacker had accomplices at the time he carried out the attack. A police official said it was clear the attack was carried out on purpose, saying terrorism was being investigated as a possible motive.
“We have to consider … that possibility,” Columbus Police Chief Kimberley Jacobs said when asked whether the incident was a terrorist attack.
“This car just swerved and ran into a whole group of people,” OSU student Nicole Kreinbrink told NBC News. “All these people were running and screaming and yelling.”
OSU sophomore Jacob Bowers told NBC that he was sitting on a bench nearby when he heard someone yell “He’s got a knife!”
“And I saw a guy with a big knife just chasing people around. When I saw that, I grabbed all my stuff and started running,” Bowers said. “The man was going insane.”
Conflicting reports emerged earlier as the Ohio State campus police tweeted an alert at 9:56 a.m. of an active shooter on campus near Watts Hall, the Material Science and Engineering building on campus. The police advised students to “Run, Hide, Fight,” which the Department of Homeland Security advises is the proper response sequence to an active-shooter situation.
Meredith Johnson, a 19-year-old freshman at OSU, told USA Today that she was in class when the campus alert showed up on her professor’s powerpoint screen. Everyone thought it was a hoax or a glitch, she said, until campus police sent out the text message alert.
“Stay indoors. Active shooter. That’s when I started freaking out,” she said.
Michael Drake, the president of Ohio State, said in a press conference on Monday that the university’s active-shooter tweet used keywords such as “Run, Hide, Fight” to trigger the appropriate campus police response.
The police issued an update at about 11:30 a.m. lifting the shelter-in-place warning. It made no mention of gunfire aside from the shooting of the suspect. The university said that “law enforcement will continue to have a visible presence on campus” and that all academic classes on the Columbus campus had been canceled for the rest of the day.
Certain buildings on the campus including Watts Hall will remain closed “until further notice,” the university said.
“Ohio’s thoughts and prayers go out to the Ohio State community,” Gov. John Kasich of Ohio tweeted. “Be safe, listen to first responders.”
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