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Feds say ISIS may have been inspiration for OSU attacker

Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 @ 3:28 PM


            FBI officials said today that Abdul Razak Ali Artan may have been inspired by ISIS or radical Islamic leaders to carry out his attack at Ohio State University on Monday but they have yet to find direct links or determine Artan’s motive. Photo by Laura Bischoff
FBI officials said today that Abdul Razak Ali Artan may have been inspired by ISIS or radical Islamic leaders to carry out his attack at Ohio State University on Monday but they have yet to find direct links or determine Artan’s motive. Photo by Laura Bischoff

FBI officials said for the first time Wednesday that Abdul Razak Ali Artan may have been inspired by ISIS or radical Islamic leaders to carry out the attack that injured 11 people at Ohio State University on Monday.

But federal authorities say they have yet to find direct links or determine Artan’s motive.

“It is too soon to draw any type of conclusions whether or not this is terrorism. We have a long road to go in the investigation,” said Angela Byers, special agent in charge of the FBI Cincinnati Field Office. “We have lots of evidence and lots of digital media to go through and that could uncover a trove of information for us.”

Although Byers said Anwar al-Awlaki, a former al Qaeda leader who was killed by an American drone strike, may have served as an inspiration to Artan, she all but dismissed a statement by ISIS claiming credit for the attack.

“In the past, they have claimed responsibility when the assailant has been dead and can’t refute that,” she said. “So, that makes it pretty easy for them.”

OSU Officer Alan Horujko shot and killed Artan a short distance from where he drove his car onto a curb and into a crowd of people milling around because of a fire alarm.

Byers said authorities are still working to determine whether a self-radicalized statement posted Monday to Facebook came from Artan. The statement made reference to lone-wolf killers carrying out jihad.

The FBI is working with Columbus Division of Police and Ohio State University campus police to investigate the attack. Byers said “immense resources” are being brought to bear on the investigation.

At a press conference Wednesday, Byers asked anyone with credible information about Artan’s whereabouts before he carried out the 9:52 a.m. attack to call 800-CALL-FBI. Authorities need help filling in a several hour gap between when Artan bought a knife at a Walmart near his home and when OSU security cameras picked up his arrival on campus in a silver Honda registered to his brother.

It is unclear if Artan used the Walmart knife in the attack, police said.

The 20-year-old Artan, who was in his first semester at OSU, was not previously known to federal authorities, according to law enforcement. There is also no indication he knew his victims.

A preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday by the Franklin County Coroner’s office showed Artan died of a gunshot wound to the head and chest.

Byers said authorities have searched Artan’s car and home, seized several electronic devices and interviewed family members, neighbors and co-workers.

Artan immigrated to the U.S. in 2014 with his mother and siblings after they had spent years in a refugee camp in Pakistan. No one answered the door Wednesday at the family apartment.

None of the injuries suffered by the victims, ranging from stab wounds to broken bones, were life-threatening. One bystander was shot in the foot by what authorities believe was an errant round from Horujko.

Police have said they don’t believe the fire alarm was triggered by an accomplice, but was in response to a report of a flourine leak. Because of the timing, however, dozens of people were standing outside Watts Hall when Artan aimed the moving vehicle toward the crowd of people, then opened the car door and began cutting people with a butcher knife.

One of the victims, Andy Payne, is an Army veteran who initially thought the driver lost control of the car and went to help those who were hit. When Artan turned to attack him, Payne, a Graham High School graduate and the father of three children, said he grabbed the knife with his left hand and was sliced across the entire palm and into the thumb.

He underwent surgery on Monday.

“When he got out of the vehicle he was angry,” Payne told this newspaper. “It wasn’t like I was trying to tackle him or take him out or anything. I was just trying to keep the knife from hitting me.”

Horujko was in the area because of the report of a gas leak. He ordered Artan to drop the knife multiple times and when he refused, he shot and killed him, police said.

Horujko, 28, who joined the OSU force in January 2015, is in good spirits and “hanging in there,” said OSU Public Safety Director Monica Moll.

The police-involved shooting is still under investigation.

Continuing coverage

Our Columbus Bureau reporter Laura Bischoff has covered the attack at Ohio State from the beginning. Follow her on Twitter at @lbischoff

Columbus Police Wednesday released the list of those injured in Monday’s attack at Ohio State. Eleven were taken to area hospitals. The list of the injured:

  • Anderson Payne, 28;
  • Anthony DiCocco, 21;
  • Keria Straughsbaugh, 27;
  • Kaylee Hoffner, 22;
  • Kristopher Waninger, 21;
  • Marc Coons, 29;
  • Katherine Schultz, 19;
  • Pavel Sergeev, 23;
  • William Clark, 68;
  • Theron Ellinger, age unknown;
  • Elisabeth Sturges, 20;
  • Linda Rager, 20;
  • Max Wieneke, 21.

Ford recalls 117K trucks, SUVs

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 7:59 AM

FILE PHOTO: A Ford Escape is seen on a dealerships lot on September 26, 2014.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: A Ford Escape is seen on a dealerships lot on September 26, 2014.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ford has issued a recall involving almost 117,000 trucks and SUVs.

That’s because the company says the bolts in the seat, seat belt or seat belt buckle may break. If they fracture, the seat or the seat belt could fail in a sudden stop or a crash, the Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the issue, but customers will be notified. Dealerships will replace the bolts for free.

The 2014 F-Series pickup, 2014 E-Series van, 2014 and 2015 Ford Escape and the 2015 Lincoln MKC SUV are all under this latest recall, the AP reported.

The Biggest Product Recalls in US History

Dixie Twin Drive-in armed robbery suspect empties register

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 12:40 AM

Robbery reported at Dixie Twin Drive-In

Police are seeking a gunman who robbed a drive-in movie theater early today in Harrison Twp.

The armed robbery suspect was wearing all black clothing and a black mask when around 12:30 a.m. he displayed a black handgun to workers at the box office of the Dixie Twin Drive-In, 6201 N. Dixie Drive. He fled with all the contents in the register, according to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch reports.

READ: Multi-county I-75 pursuit involving OSP ends in crash, 2 in hospital

The suspect, described as approximately 6 feet tall with a stocky build who weighs about 200 pounds, fled northeast through the woods toward Miller Lane, according to the dispatch center.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

Missing Florida woman found because she saved her scent with kit

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 3:46 PM

Missing Florida Woman Found Because She Saved Her Scent With Kit

A Florida woman with dementia, who was missing for hours, was found within five minutes of a K-9 being dispatched all because she saved her scent. 

>> Read more trending news 

Deputy Justin Williams and a K-9 named Ally tracked down the missing, endangered elderly woman Tuesday using a scent preservation kit she made two years ago. 

The kits require people to swab under their arms with a sterile pad and seal it inside a container. If the person ever goes missing, the unique smell captured can easily be tracked by a K-9. 

“The woman was returned home safely and K9 Ally was rewarded with a special treat, a tasty vanilla ice cream cone,” the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook

Clock ticks as “Skinny” Senate GOP health bill remains a mystery

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 7:36 AM

With half of the debate completed in the U.S. Senate on a House-passed bill to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans have yet to reveal the details of what may be the only GOP option that can get a majority of votes, a streamlined measure which would change only a few provisions of current health law.

“I don’t know what the “skinny” repeal looks like,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to a group of reporters, as he acknowledged doing the bare minimum on health care might be about the only way to keep GOP options open on changes to Obamacare.

“What you’re really voting on is to try to keep the discussions alive between the House and Senate,” Corker told reporters.

The way the “skinny” Republican option has been described in recent days is this:

+ Zero out the tax penalty on the individual mandate (note – this does not “repeal” the mandate – it just reduces the penalty to $0).

+ Zero out the employer mandate penalty

+ Repeal the medical device tax.

But there were rumblings on Wednesday that the details of the plan would have to be fiddled with, leaving GOP Senators in the dark on what they might be voting on late on Thursday night, or Friday.

“I want to see what it says; I don’t know what it says – no one knows what it says yet,” Corker said.

“All of this right now is procedural setup to get to an end that none of us are certain what it’s going to look like,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

“I’d rather comment when we see it actually formulated,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) of the “skinny” Senate bill.

Down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Trump was continuing to press GOP Senators for action, using his platform on Twitter to make one more direct appeal on Thursday morning.

But as the day began, it wasn’t clear whether there would be 50 Republican votes for any GOP health plan in the Senate – skinny or not.

For seven years, many Republicans and conservative groups have pushed a story line that wasn’t completely true about the Congressional debate on the Obama health law – that few hearings were held, that the bill text was kept a secret until the bitter end, that the House and Senate votes were done in the middle of the night, and more.

Having covered the legislative battle over the Obama health law, many of those criticisms weren’t entirely accurate – but the irony right now is that the GOP may be following a health care script in 2017 which mirrors many of their own complaints from 2009 and 2010.