COLUMBUS: A university student whose family immigrated from Somalia rammed his car Monday into a crowd at Ohio State University and attacked them with a butcher knife, injuring 11 before 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 possible terror attack.
He also appears to have made an anti-US posting on Facebook minutes before the attack, on a page that was quickly disabled or taken down by authorities, US media said.
“I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post quoted by ABC television said, using a term referring to the global community of Muslims.
“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”
Artan also referred to Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Al-Qaeda cleric, as a hero in the posting.
His shocking attakc 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 university’s 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. 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, though officials did not confirm that information. They did not release his exact age, saying only that they believed he was born in 1998.
An OSU student of the same name also 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.
“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” he said.
The rampage comes two months after a Somali immigrant stabbed 10 people at a mall in Minnesota, before he was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer.
The Minnesota assailant, 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, was described as “radicalized” and the Islamic State group claimed the attack as the work of an IS “soldier.”