What We Know About The Suspect In The Ohio State University Attack

Views

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a student at Ohio State University, was suspected of striking pedestrians with a motor vehicle Monday morning before exiting the vehicle and attacking other bystanders with a knife. The on-campus attack left 11 people wounded before a police officer shot and killed Artan.

Here’s what we know about the suspect so far.

He was a legal permanent resident of the United States

Officials told NBC News on Monday that Artan, a legal permanent resident of the United States, was born in Somalia and left that country with his family in 2007. Artan then spent seven years in Pakistan in a refugee camp before moving to the United States in 2014 with six other family members, CBS News reported, citing unnamed officials.

Federal officials told the New York Times that Artan was admitted to the United States in June 2014 as the child of a refugee, and was either in his late teens or early 20s. Earlier reporting indicated that Artan was 18 years old.

According to Catholic Charities records cited in the NBC News report, Artan had lived in a temporary shelter in Dallas before moving to Ohio.

He was a transfer student from Columbus State

In an August interview with Ohio State University’s college newspaper The Lantern, which described him as a third-year student in logistics management, Artan said that he had “just transferred” to the school from Columbus State Community College.

According to a report by the Columbus Dispatch, Artan lived in Franklin Township and transferred to Ohio State University’s College of Business for the current semester.

The vice president of marketing and communications at Columbus State confirmed in a statement to ABC News that Artan had been enrolled at that school from 2014 to 2016, earned an associate of arts degree earlier this year and also took noncredit classes over the summer.

Artan was on the dean’s list at Columbus State in 2015, and officials said that he graduated cum laude, according to the New York Times.

He was concerned about negative media portrayal of Muslims

In his interview with Ohio State’s student paper, Artan said he was “scared” of praying in the open on campus.

“I’m new here,” he told The Lantern. “This is my first day. This place is huge, and I don’t even know where to pray. I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media.”

Artan said that he expected people to “feel uncomfortable” if he prayed in a public place.

“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,” he said in the interview. “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.”

He reportedly posted on Facebook that the U.S. must “stop interfering” in Muslim world

An investigator told the New York Times that the FBI is looking into Facebook comments that suggest Artan felt Muslims are “being persecuted.”

Citing unnamed sources, ABC News reported that authorities are investigating a post believed to be linked to Artan that was published three minutes before the start of Monday’s attack.

“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 read, as quoted by ABC News. “If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace.”

ABC News reported that the post cited Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda cleric and American citizen killed in a 2011 drone strike, as a “hero.”

Artan also wrote that he had reached a “boiling point,” according to NBC News’ report.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ohio State University Police chief Craig Stone said that it was “too early to say” whether the attack was planned, but that it “was done on purpose.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK