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Police in the midwestern city of Columbus say at least nine people were injured on the campus of Ohio State University when an attacker drove a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians and then began stabbing them.
The suspect was shot and killed by police. “We have to consider that it is a terrorist attack,” said Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs. U.S. media are reporting that the suspect has been identified as a young man of Somali descent.
Hospital officials said eight of the victims had non-life-threatening injuries, but that the other person was in critical condition.
Ohio State University President Michael Drake said there were initially rumors of a second suspect. However, Drake said police have searched the area and believe there was only one attacker.
Drake said he would not yet identify the attacker or speculate about the motive for the attack. He said it was a deliberate attack because the suspect drove his vehicle over a curb to hit pedestrians on a sidewalk. He said the suspect then got out of the car and began stabbing people with a butcher knife.
Ohio State had initially issued an active shooter warning also urged students to “shelter in place.” The warnings have been lifted and officials say the scene is now secure.
During Monday’s news conference, Jacobs referenced a previous terrorism case tied to Columbus, Ohio, that of Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, who was arrested in 2015 after returning from Syria. Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Somalia, was charged with providing material support to terrorists.
“We are scared, everybody is scared,” Suad Osman, a member of Ohio State’s Somali student association, told VOA’s Somali Service from the school’s library as the incident was unfolding.
A professor at the school told VOA that his colleagues were “shaken.”
There are nearly 60,000 students at Ohio State’s main campus in the city of Columbus.
VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin and reporter Carolyn Presutti contributed to this story.