Kirk Irwin/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — An Ohio State University professor injured in Monday’s attack at the Columbus, Ohio, campus, says that for now, he’s withholding judgment on the deceased attacker.
OSU Professor William Clark suffered injuries to his ankle and leg when an OSU student, identified by authorities as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a crowd, then slashed multiple people on campus Monday morning. Within a minute of the attack, an OSU police officer shot and killed Artan, ending the threat, officials said. Eleven people were injured.
ISIS on Tuesday claimed that Artan was one of its “soldiers,” though a Facebook post suspected of being written by the Artan just before the attack does not include a pledge of allegiance to the terrorist organization, as in previous cases. However, it does say that if the U.S. wants the attacks to stop, it has to “make peace with ‘dawla in al sham,'” which is how some ISIS followers have referred to the organization.
Three out of the 11 people injured in the attack remained in the hospital Tuesday evening, university officials announced.
“All are doing well and I have communicated in person or by phone with a majority of them,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer at Wexner Medical Center. “Everyone is continuing to heal and work through the trauma of yesterday’s events. At this point, we are thankful there were no life-threatening injuries.”
Authorities said late Monday a motive for the attack had not been determined.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, when Clark was asked what he would like to say the person responsible, he responded, “Until we really know all the facts. I’d prefer to hold judgment.”
“Having been a faculty member for 35 years, I’m only too aware of the things that drive students sometimes to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, and so before I pass judgment on this young man, I would like to see exactly what the circumstances are and exactly why he took the course of action that he chose to,” Clark said. “I’m sore, but I’m going home this afternoon, and he’s dead. So I think my sense is out of respect just for the living and the dead we should wait until we know what’s the truth.”
When Clark was asked if he thinks Artan was radicalized by the internet, Clark said he would not speculate.
“Anybody can take responsibility for anything if they want if they see it as a feather in their cap, so to me that doesn’t necessarily imply they were behind the planning,” Clark said. “Until I know this was something to do with some radical group and whether that is the entire story, or whether there’s some other personal family issues and social issues … I withhold judgment.”
Clark said he’d never seen Artan before.
Clark told reporters that he had gone outside the morning of the attack because the fire alarm went off. Before he could re-enter the campus building, he said he heard a shout.
“It happened so fast,” Clark said. “I turned to go back in the building and all of a sudden … this car is there and I get flipped in the air.”
The car clipped the back of Clark’s foot and he suffered lacerations to his ankle area and contusions to the side of his leg, he said.
Then the suspect started attacking people with a knife, according to officials. “All I heard was the shouting and screaming from the people standing there,” Clark said, adding that he didn’t hear the suspect say anything.
Clark added that his daughter knows the OSU police officer, 28-year-old Alan Horujko, who fatally shot Artan, stopping the threat.
Clark said that if Horujko “was here, I’d put my arm around him and tell him he’s got a lot to cope with in the days to come.”
“He’s got to live with this for the rest of his life,” Clark said. “But he did the right thing. It’s what he was trained to do and what he did and who knows? There’s a lot of people walking around between classes, who knows what other damage this young man would have done.”
“I think it’s very tragic that something like this happens at any university,” Clark told reporters. “I decided on a career in universities because, you know, I think there’s some sort of calling there. You taking young people at 17, 18, trying to turn them into functional adults. And that doesn’t mean you train them in the classroom, you’re also trying to show them how to live life, and so whenever anything happens like this happens I think it’s absolutely it’s tragic.”
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