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FBI: ‘Too soon’ to call Monday’s attack terrorism

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FBI special agent Angela Byer speaks to the media at a news conference on the investigation of Abdul Razak Ali Artan on Nov. 30. Credit: Elizabeth Suarez | Multimedia Editor

FBI special agent Angela Byer speaks to the media at a news conference on the investigation of Abdul Razak Ali Artan on Nov. 30. Credit: Elizabeth Suarez | Multimedia Editor

It’s too soon to call the attack on Ohio State’s campus on Monday an act of terrorism, although the student who sent 11 people to the hospital might have been inspired by the deceased al Qaeda-linked terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as Islamic State.

“It’s too soon to draw any conclusions if this is terrorism,” FBI special agent Angela Byers said at a news conference held with the Columbus Division of Police on Wednesday afternoon.

For about a half hour, officials took questions from the press and discussed the ongoing investigation of Abdul Razak Ali Artan. On Monday, Artan, a third-year in logistics management, drove a gray Honda Civic sedan into a crowd of people gathered outside of Watts Hall because of a fire alarm. Artan then leaped out of the vehicle and reportedly began to attack the crowd with a butcher knife. Artan was shot and killed by University Police officer Alan Horujko. The victims of the attack were sent to various hospitals with non life-threatening injuries, although one was in critical condition. One person remains in the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon.

Byers said social media posts believed to be from Artan are being investigated. A Facebook page on which Artan allegedly decried the treatment of Muslims in the U.S. just before the attack is still being authenticated, she said.

Officers said the fire alarm going off — which caused people to exit the Watts Hall onto West 19th Avenue, where Artan then ran into them with his car — was not believed to be connected to Artan. Police suspect that he acted alone, although police were initially investigating the possibility of there being other perpetrators near the Lane Avenue parking garage on Monday morning.

Police also mentioned that one woman was shot in the ankle. They said the wound most likely came from a bullet from the gun of Horujko, who — as is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting — has been placed on administrative leave. No evidence of a firearm has been found, although the attack was originally reported as an active shooter via a Buckeye Alert text message.

“Witnesses say he (told Artan) to drop the knife more than once (before firing),” said Richard Bash, a Columbus Division of Police deputy chief in the investigative subdivision.

The shooting will be reviewed in front of a grand jury, as is the case with all officer-involved shootings, police said.

As authorities are piecing together the investigation, they said they are trying to figure out what Artan did in between buying a knife at Walmart Monday morning and coming to campus. The FBI had no knowledge or contact with Artan before Monday’s incident. Questions such as why Artan targeted OSU specifically, and why he attacked outside of Watts Hall, are still unanswered, authorities said.

6 comments

  1. Typical head in sand response. smh
    The knife has replaced suicide bombings, car attacks and random shootings as the new tool of choice for waging jihad on Israel, with leaders blatantly calling for Palestinians young and old to take up the kitchen implement and kill.

    While cars careening into crowds was the trend in terror last year– with hit songs in Gaza and the West Bank praising “martyrs” behind the wheel– this year Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders, clerics and newspaper editors are openly encouraging stabbings that have so far killed a dozen and wounded 167 since Oct. 1. Through sermons, social media, online blogs, editorial cartoons and TV and radio reports, the message seems to be that anyone can pick up a knife and advance the cause.

    • I am sure that the good agent – and I have no doubt that she is a good agent – has no choice but to tow the official line. Much like the agent in Orlando had to tow the line.

  2. He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

    He is being replaced on January 20, 2017.

  3. Poor J Edgar Hoover is spinning in his grave like a slot machine watching the antics of the Federal Bureau of Islam.

  4. It’s also too soon to conclude that the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.

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