Officer Fatally Shot Ohio State Assailant After He Rammed Car into Pedestrians Then Attacked with Butcher Knife
The suspect's motive is still unknown, authorities said on Monday
At least nine people are hospitalized, with one critical, after an incident on Ohio State University’s campus in Columbus, the Columbus Fire Department confirms to PEOPLE. The current sole suspect — Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an OSU student — is dead, the Columbus Police Department and OSU’s director of public safety confirms.
OSU president Dr. Michael Drake said during a press conference on Monday that a silver Honda Civic ran into a group of pedestrians that were gathered on a street corner. Drake said that the driver then exited the vehicle, and used a weapon to cut several people before being shot and killed by police officer Alan Horujko, 28.
“The suspect failed to respond to commands, then was shot and deceased on the premises all within one minute of this beginning,” Drake told CNN.
Craig Stone, the OSU police chief, confirmed that the suspect used a butcher knife. Stone said that the attack was planned, but there is no indication yet that it was terrorism. Investigators are still working to determine a motive.
Multiple outlets — citing law enforcement sources — said that Artan was a young Somali refugee who was a legal, permanent resident of the United States.
Two people are listed as stable at Grant Medical Center, the fire department spokeswoman said. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center confirmed that they are treating five victims, none of whom have life-threatening injuries.
Wexner Chief Medical Officer Andrew Thomas said during Monday’s press conference that they treated multiple injuries related to lacerations or cuts, most likely from stab wounds. He said there were also orthopedic and other soft tissue injuries related to being hit by the vehicle.
The school’s emergency management department sent out a tweet just before 10 a.m. on Monday alerting students.
“Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College,” the school’s Emergency Management office tweeted out –- adding a few minutes later, “Continue to shelter in place. Avoid area of College. More information to follow.”
Around 10:20 a.m., the department wrote again, “Continue to shelter in place in north campus area. Follow directions of Police on scene.”
As of 11:14, the emergency management department lifted the shelter in place, adding that the “scene is now secure, and law enforcement will continue to have a visible presence on campus.”
All academic classes on the campus were canceled for the rest of Monday, and numerous buildings were closed.
Watts Hall houses the school’s materials science and engineering departments, according to the school’s website.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, OSU said, “Our top priority remains the safety and security of our campus community. Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and their families.”
Stephen Yunker, a freshman at OSU tells PEOPLE, “I woke up and was getting ready for class and my roommate and I, we’re just sitting in our dorm room when we heard six or seven gunshots. We looked at each other and then 10 seconds later, fire alarms started going off. We saw the cops roll into 19th avenue. There seemed to be a body on the ground. There was a body bag covering it up.”
He adds, “I looked outside and people were running inside and stuff.”
James Liou, a senior at OSU who is from Cleveland, Ohio, tells PEOPLE that he had a 10:20 a.m. class in the Watts building, but didn’t go because his mother called him about the reported shooter.
“To be honest it was pretty scary, I realized how scary it was because there were multiple incidents,” he says, adding, “It’s all of a sudden, everyone is caught off guard.”
Numerous people urged students to be safe, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who wrote on Twitter, “Ohio’s thoughts and prayers go out to the Ohio State community. Be safe, listen to first responders.”
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said, “My and Jane’s thoughts and prayers are with the Ohio State community. Please be safe and listen to our first responders.”
Michigan athletics — whose football team lost to the Buckeyes on Saturday — wrote, “Stay safe, Buckeyes.”
Added Major League Baseball player Nick Swisher, an Ohio State alum, “Praying for everyone at The Ohio State University. Please be safe.”
LeBron James also urged students, “Please find [safety] asap!!”
Describing the “surreal scene” in Columbus on Monday, Sport’s Illustrated senior writer Pete Thamel says, “This was obviously just the epitome of collegiate joy here on Saturday and really a dark pall has just been cast across the campus and the city because of this tragedy.”
- Reporting by MARLENE LENTHANG