News and Commentary

Ohio State Attacker: Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Here’s What You Need to Know. UPDATES

The student who carried out a brutal attack at Ohio State University on Monday has been identified by police as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 20-year-old Somali refugee who was granted permanent legal status in 2014 after living with his family in Pakistan for seven years. Authorities are still investigating his motives, but have begun to suspect terrorism. A recent social media post by Artan suggests that he was indeed radicalized.

Here are seven things you need to know about Artan and his rampage:

1. Artan attacked his fellow students with his car and a butcher knife.

Though Artan’s attack was initially falsely reported as an “active shooter” incident, his weapons turned out to be his vehicle and a knife. He first used his gray Honda compact to plow into his fellow students on campus, driving it onto the curb outside a department of engineering building. He then exited the car with what officials described as a “butcher knife.” He managed to injure eleven people (early reports said nine)—one critically.

Within a minute, his rampage came to an abrupt end when a police officer—identified as Alan Horujko, 28—arrived and shot him dead. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said of the heroic officer, whose decisive action likely saved students’ lives. Stone said that Horujiko happened to be in the vicinity because of a gas leak.

Officials said most of the victims were injured by the car and at least two victims had been stabbed. One of the victims suffered a fractured skull. The assailant’s choice of weapons has raised eyebrows, as ISIS has called for jihadists to use both means to murder Westerners.

2. Artan was a Somali refugee who had lived for several years in Pakistan.

Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Artan was a Somali refugee who had been granted permanent legal residency in the U.S in 2014, when he moved here with his family from Pakistan. In 2007, Artan and his family fled Somalia, ending up in Pakistan, where they apparently resided for about 7 years.

3. Authorities are investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.

Authorities have not yet determined a motive, but say they are now investigating the attack as a potential act of terrorism. AP reports:

Asked at a news conference whether authorities were considering the possibility it was a terrorist act, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said: “I think we have to consider that it is.”

AP quotes Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a leading member of the House Intelligence Committee, who described the incident as bearing “all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalized.”

The FBI is assisting with the investigation, and President Obama has been briefed on the attack. Early in the day, officials signaled that they suspected that Artan’s actions were planned in advance, and Police Chief Stone described the acts of violence as something clearly “done on purpose.”

4. Minutes before the attack, Artan posted an online rant declaring he “can’t take it anymore” and warning of more “lone wolf attacks.”

Law enforcement officials revealed Monday that they believe Artan posted a radical rant on his Facebook page just 3 minutes before the attack declaring that he had reached a boiling point and warning of more “lone wolf attacks” by Muslims.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Artan wrote in the post (below). “America stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

Artan goes on to warn that the “lone wolf attacks” will continue until America “give[s] peace to the Muslims.” He also praises Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American-born al-Qaeda cleric who was killed in 2011, as a “hero.” Below is the full post via Jake Tapper:

5. In August, Artan criticized Ohio State for not providing Muslim prayer rooms.

The Daily Caller points out that Artan recently criticized the university for not having Muslim prayer rooms.

“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media,” Artan told the campus newspaper, The Lantern, in August​. “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it, and it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable.”

Artan told the paper that he had just transferred from Columbus State that semester and was a third-year logistics management student.

6. Artan’s attack resembles other recent terror attacks.

AP points out that the OSU attack shares similarities with the terror attack in a St Cloud, Minnesota mall in September, when another Somali refugee stabbed 10 people, asking several if they were Muslim before striking. Like Artan, Dahir Ahmed Adan‘s rampage was ended when he was shot dead by an off-duty officer. Terrorists in other countries, including Israel, England, and France, have also used knives and vehicles to attack civilians.

7. The Somali community in Columbus has condemned the attack.

NBC News spoke with Hassan Omar, president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, who expressed “shock” and dismay at the attack.

“Every Somali person has been calling me, and everybody is crying,” Omar told the outlet. “This is a shock. As a Somali community here, we are in a state of shock. In Columbus, we live in a very peaceful community. This is gonna affect the life of everybody. We are American and we don’t want somebody to create this problem.”

This article has been updated as new details have emerged.