Abdul Artan: Ohio State University Suspect Who Launched Knife Attack Identified As 19-Year-Old Somali Refugee

[UPDATE: Initial reports had identified the suspect as Ali Muhammad, but NBC News later reported it to be Abdul Artan. The story has been updated to reflect the identification]

Abdul Artan has been identified as the suspect who allegedly launched a car and knife attack on the Ohio State University campus on Monday, leaving nine people injured.

The attack took place at 9:52 a.m., when police say the suspect plowed into pedestrians with a car and then exited with a butcher knife, stabbing several people, ABC News reported.

The suspect, who was killed by police during the attack, was identified hours after the attack took place. Reports indicate that Artan drove a car into a group of students who had left a school building following a fire drill, but it was not reported whether the suspect was responsible for triggering the alarm.

There were initially rumors that more suspects may have been involved in the OSU attack, but authorities later said Abdul Artan was the only suspect.

There was some initial confusion about the suspect’s identity. Journalist Lisa Daftari reported that the suspect was named Ali Muhammad, who was 20 and a Somali-American, but others identified the suspect as 19-years-old and a refugee.


NBC News reported that the suspected Ohio State University attacker was actually 18-years-old, and was a Somali refugee and legal permanent resident of the United States. It was not immediately clear when he may have immigrated from Somalia to the United States or how long he had lived in America.

There were still other unanswered questions about OSU suspect Abdul Artan, including whether he was a student at the university. Some reports noted that he lived near the campus, others called him a student.

As the Columbus Dispatch reported, the attack left several injured but there were no deaths reported outside of the alleged suspect.

Students on the OSU campus described scenes of chaos, with police responding quickly and the university commanding students to run away, find a place to hide, or fight the suspect if they could not do either of these.

“I just had a class over here an hour ago,” Mike O’Connell, a senior at the college, told the Columbus Dispatch. “This is insane. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Witnesses said the suspect crashed his car into the crowd, which some initially believed was an accident. It was then that the suspect exited the car with a large knife and chased people in the crowd in an attempt to stab them.

“Luckily there were so many people he couldn’t focus on one target,” student Jacob Bowers told ABC News. “I didn’t see anyone get stabbed but I saw the police officer take down the stabber. He saved lives today.”

Bowers said Abdul Artan said nothing during the attack, “which was almost scarier,” he added.

The suspect was killed when he charged at police officers, witnesses said.

As NBC 4 in Columbus reported, victims from the Ohio State University attack had a variety of injuries caused both by the car and the suspect’s knife.

“Columbus fire officials tell NBC4 nine people were transported to local hospitals, and all nine victims have non-life-threatening injuries. The patients were split among OSU Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

“Victims were hospitalized with injuries including stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated.”

The reports that the Ohio State University attack suspect was a Somali immigrant kicked up political controversy, especially in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s stance against Muslim immigration. Though it was not clear if Ali Muhammad was a Muslim, most of those living in Somalia practice Islam.

Police have not yet discussed a potential motive for Ohio State University attack suspect Abdul Artan, and have not said if they consider the attack to be an act of terrorism. Authorities did say they believe the attack was planned ahead of time.

[Featured Image by John Minchillo/AP Images]