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.

Family displaced, home damaged in Miami Twp. fire

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

Miami Township crews battle a garage fire this morning.

A Miami Twp. family will be displaced after a fire damaged their home on Carnation Road Tuesday morning. 

TRENDING: Local teacher arrested in connection to fatal hit-and-run crash

Firefighters were dispatched to the home in the 6100 block of Carnation Road around 8:10 a.m. and found a fire in the attached garage. 

>>Track the latest weather conditions with Live WHIO Doppler 7 Radar

The blaze was contained to the garage, but smoke spread throughout the home, according to investigators. 

Two children and an adult were able to evacuate before firefighters arrived on scene. No injuries were reported but the family will be displaced. 

The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation. 

Wright State’s Raiderthon raises $45K for local hospital

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:49 AM

WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY

Wright State University helped raise more than $45,000 for Dayton Children’s Hospital during its fifth annual Raiderthon dance marathon, school officials announced Tuesday.

The event was held Saturday in the Student Union Apollo Room on campus from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday.

LOCAL NEWS: Local teacher arrested in death of pedestrian in hit and run crash

More than 400 dancers registered for the 2017 edition of the fundraiser and school officials said over the last four years nearly $200,000 has been raised for Dayton Children’s.

WPAFB joins in new partnerships for bat conservation

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:12 AM


            An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)
An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)

Aircraft aren’t the only things flying around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Endangered Indiana bats patrol the night skies, foraging for insects over the Mad River corridor. This 8,000-acre installation contains about 700 acres of forested areas along streams, with a wide variety of native trees: maple, oak, hickory and others.

The site is prime summer habitat for Indiana bats; managers discovered a maternity colony in 1993 and have been tracking it ever since.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/leaders-emphasize-need-for-fiscal-2018-budget-state-address/TQIvo0nhsKCOJzmMQv1zkI/

Female Indiana bats need forest habitat where they form colonies in summer, roosting in older trees under loose bark, giving birth to a single pup, and foraging for insects along stream corridors. That means it’s important for young trees to grow up to replace old trees as they die off. And while that’s a natural process, sometimes non-native, invasive plants take over, and their impact can literally alter the landscape.

Invasive bush honeysuckle, introduced during the late 1800s for landscaping and, ironically, wildlife habitat, has become common throughout Ohio and the eastern United States. Bush honeysuckle is an aggressive invasive plant that leafs out earlier in the spring than native plants and stays green well into the fall after most plants are dormant. Honeysuckle shades out native plants, preventing the growth of young native tree species needed by bats and other forest wildlife.

That’s what managers began to see at Wright-Patterson. Darryn Warner, the base’s natural resources program manager, noticed that native tree saplings in the understory were being out-competed by honeysuckle, and without management, few young trees would replace older trees as they die off. Over time, Indiana bat habitat could become significantly degraded, or lost altogether. He wanted to address the issue quickly, and thought that the Sike’s Act would be the tool to get it done.

The Sike’s Act is a law that requires all military installations to “provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources.” Under the Sike’s Act, Wright-Patterson and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became partners, with the Air Force funding service work to control invasive species and jump-start forest regeneration in treated areas.

With staff, equipment and expertise from Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana, work began. Crews cut large honeysuckle bushes and treated the area to prevent resprouts on about 115 acres at Wright-Patterson. Native trees like shellbark hickory, favored by roosting bats as maternity colony sites, have been planted. More work is planned over the next five years.

So how is the Indiana bat faring at Wright-Patterson since this work began? With funding from Wright-Patterson, the Service’s Ohio Ecological Services Field Office surveyed the Indiana bat population during the summer of 2017. Using mist nets to capture and release bats, service biologists found a total of 85 individual bats, including five Indiana bats. Adult female Indiana bats were fitted with radio transmitters and tracked to roost trees along the Mad River, on Wright-Patterson property. Biologists observed the trees at dusk, and as many as 17 bats were observed emerging from the trees in one night, confirming that a maternity colony of Indiana bats is still present at Wright-Patterson. This colony has persisted now for at least 24 years at the base, indicating long-term suitable habitat is present.

During the mist net survey several other exciting finds occurred. Biologists were able to confirm the presence of a male northern long-eared bat, a federally listed threatened species, multiple silver-haired bats, and an evening bat. This was the first mist net survey to detect them despite considerable prior effort.

Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats and other cave-hibernating bats nationwide face the daunting threat of white-nose syndrome, a fungus that infects bats during hibernation and has killed millions of bats in the past decade. Ensuring that high-quality summer habitat for maternity colonies is a critical step in helping the bats that do survive white-nose syndrome recover and reproduce during the summer. Wright-Patterson is doing their part to ensure these small pilots have a safe landing spot this summer.

Woman holds decoration drive to help victims of Hurricane Harvey celebrate holidays

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

File photo
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
File photo(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

As Texas continues to recover during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many are trying to figure out how they will celebrate the holiday season after they’ve lost everything.

One woman came up with an idea to help bring a little normalcy for hurricane victims during the next few weeks and help brighten up their temporary homes this Christmas, KBMT reported.

>> Read more trending news

Meredith Love, with some help from Gretchen Scoggins and schools in Hardin County, Texas, organized a free holiday decoration giveaway.

Love and the others collected donations through social media to provide ornaments, trees and garlands to Hurricane Harvey victims this past weekend, KBMT reported.

Love posted on her Facebook page that more than 200 people were able to collect something to make their living arrangements a little more homey this Thanksgiving and Christmas.