COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — A man plowed his car into a group of pedestrians at The Ohio State University and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday morning before he was shot to death by a police officer, authorities said.
Eleven people were hurt, one critically. All of them are expected to be okay.
Police said they were investigating the possibility it was a terrorist attack. The FBI and other agencies joined the investigation.
Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said that the assailant deliberately drove over a curb outside a classroom building, got out of the vehicle and began to cut people in a crowd with a butcher knife. A police officer who was nearby because of a gas leak arrived on the scene and shot the driver in less than a minute.
Police believe only one person was involved in the attacks.
Ohio State Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll identified the now-deceased suspect as Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Moll said he was a student at the school.
Authorities said the officer who killed Artan was a university police officer, 28-year-old Alan Horujko, who has been on the job for less than two years. Moll said he started on the Ohio State police force in January 2015.A U.S. official earlier told The Associated Press that he was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident. The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Chief Stone said it was fortunate there was a nearby gas leak that Horujko had gone to investigate because it helped position him to respond to the attack so quickly.
“At 9:52, the officer involved called out that a car had hit seven to eight pedestrians,” Moll said in a press conference.
Horujko is being called a hero.
“I had a chance to talk with the officer that was the first responder, and thank him for following this training and being able to neutralize the circumstances within roughly one minute,” said OSU President Michael Drake.
Columbus fire officials said 11 people were transported to local hospitals, and all 11 victims have non-life threatening injuries. Six patients were sent to OSU Wexner Medical Center, three went to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and two were taken to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
At least two people were being treated for stab wounds, four were injured by the car and two others were being treated for cuts, university officials said.
“I’m pleased to say I was able to see three of the people who were injured, and the injuries were not life-threatening,” Drake said. “Actually, all three patients were alert and in good spirits. In some cases, actually joking a bit.”
Rachel LeMaster, who works in the engineering college, said a fire alarm sounded before the attack.
“There were several moments of chaos,” she said. “We barricaded ourselves like we’re supposed to, since it was right outside our door, and just hunkered down.”
LeMaster said she and others were eventually led outside the building and she saw a body on the ground..
Sophomore Wyatt Crosher said he heard what he thought was gunfire coming from a class building.
“My roommate and I heard about three or four gunshots from across the street, and soon after we heard a bunch of police and ambulances pull up across the street,” the 19-year-old said.
“I was going to class, and just all the people were running and I was really nervous, I was like, ‘Oh crap,’” said fifth-year senior Scott Bedle. “I saw people running, cop sirens, everything.”
“I heard, like, multiple gunshots and I wasn’t sure if it was real or not but as soon as I looked out the window, and I saw the same,” said senior Yoon Lee.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims and students on Twitter. He also released the following statement:
As the situation at The Ohio State University unfolds, we lift up the victims and the first responders in our thoughts and prayers. We ask for students and university employees to continue to follow instructions of Ohio State authorities.
Several campus area faith communities planned services Monday evening to pray for the victims of the attack.
A prayer vigil took place at Jacob’s Porch located at 45 East 13th Avenue at 4 p.m. St. Thomas More Newman Center invited the community to light a candle for the OSU community during a 5:30 p.m. mass, and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and University Center held a prayer vigil at 7 p.m.
READ MORE: Full list of vigils for attack victims
Ohio State University’s main campus in Columbus is one of the largest in the United States. The university has more than 65,000 students enrolled across the state.