The 18-year-old who rammed his car into pedestrians and then used a butcher knife to slash at people on the campus of Ohio State University was inspired by ISIS according to investigators who spoke to Fox News:
Investigators have found evidence that the man who plowed a car into a crowd at Ohio State University Monday before stabbing several pedestrians with a butcher knife was inspired by ISIS propaganda, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
The sources did not specify what evidence was found, but investigators are inclined to believe that the attacker, 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was “self-radicalized.”
The FBI is now examining Artan’s phone and computer to confirm he was marinating in ISIS propaganda. As for ISIS, they have already claimed Artan as a “soldier of the Islamic State”:
On Tuesday, ISIS’s media arm claimed the Ohio State University attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State.” According to MEMRI, the terror organization’s A’maq News Agency said Artan “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the countries [participating] in the international coalition.”
“Brother Abdul Razak Ali Artan, God accept him, implementer of the Ohio attack, a student in his third year in university,” the post read.
One interesting point which neither Fox News nor the AP has clarified yet is exactly when this self-radicalization happened. If you’ve been following this story at all you probably already know that Artan was featured in the school newspaper saying, “It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable.” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer described the school paper piece, which presents Artan as a harmless Muslim worried about his own safety:
That was published in August of this year. Was Artan truly a moderate at the time? If so he seems to have radicalized to the point of trying to imitate the Nice, France terror attack in just a matter of months. The other possibility is that Artan already had some extremist views and was merely presenting himself as a harmless moderate while he decided how to carry out an attack.
Finally, there was an interview today with OSU professor William Clark who was wounded in the attack. He describes how he happened to be outside with as many as 50 other people because of an alarm that had sent everyone in his building onto the sidewalk. Fire fighters went into the building to check out a possible gas leak. The alarm and the leak are believed to be a coincidence that had no connection to the attack.
As the leak situation seemed to be ending, Artan drove onto the sidewalk and slammed his car into a concrete planter/barrier. In the process he clipped the professor in the leg, sending him flying into the air. Fortunately for Professor Clark, Artan got out on the other side of the vehicle and did not see Clark lying on the ground as he began his knife attack.
This video gives the gist of Clark’s statement but it cuts off before he mentions how lucky it was that Artan’s car was stopped by the barrier. Clark says that if the barrier hadn’t stopped his car, Artan would have been able to drive into the mass of 40-50 people who were outside because of the leak. Instead, his car died and he resorted to the knife for about a minute before he was shot and killed by university police officer Alan Horujko. Horujko was already nearby because of the suspected gas leak.