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Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 @ 6:56 AM
— While police continue to investigate Monday’s attack that left 11 injured on Ohio State’s campus, here are five things to know surrounding the case.
1. Attacker’s social media posts examined
Federal law enforcement officials confirmed late Monday to CNN that attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan wrote a Facebook post saying he had grown “sick and tired” of seeing fellow Muslims “killed and tortured.”
Law enforcement officials from Ohio State and the city of Columbus said Monday that they were investigating any ties to terrorism with help from federal authorities, but said it was too early to determine a motive.
Shortly before the attack, Artan posted a comment urging America “to stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah,” a term for Muslim people at large. “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims,” he wrote. “You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday.”
2. Political arguments over terror, guns
While university officials were urging unity on campus, some political leaders were already arguing about the role of Islamic terrorism and guns.
Josh Mandel, Ohio’s elected treasurer, tweeted: “Looks like Radical Islamic terror came to my alma mater today. So sad what happened at OSU. We must remain vigilant against Radical Islam.” He later tweeted the last line again.
Ohio Democrats fired back at the Republican Mandel. Michael Premo, the Ohio Senate Democrats’ chief of staff, tweeted, “Looks like knee-jerk islamophobia came to my state today. So sad what @JoshMandelOhio said. We must remain vigilant against prejudice.”
The gun debate also came into play. The attack was first reported as an active shooter, until it became clear that Artan used a car and knife, and was eventually shot by a police officer with a gun.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a simple statement after the attack: “Thank God he didn’t have a gun.”
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association tweeted: “If there’s one lesson to be learned today, it’s this: In the right hands, guns are tools that protect & save lives #2A #OhioStateUniversity.”
3. Ohio legislature addressing campus gun issue
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ohio Senate could pass a bill this week that would reduce the penalty for carrying a gun on a college campus from a felony to a misdemeanor.
That issue is addressed in House Bill 48, which easily passed the Ohio House a year ago. The bill also would allow colleges to let people carry concealed handguns on campus.
The bill has been scheduled for a possible Senate committee vote on Wednesday morning. It’s unclear whether the Ohio State incident will change that timeline in any way.
The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the bill when it was in the House.
4. A huge roller coaster for OSU
The simple timing of Monday’s attack meant people on campus had gone through a wide range of emotions in just a few days.
Last week saw Thanksgiving celebrations on campus, followed by students saying goodbye to head home for a long holiday weekend. Then Saturday, Ohio State’s nationally ranked football team won an overtime thriller against their intense rival Michigan, buoying spirits on campus.
Then Monday morning, as thousands of students were returning to their normal routines and saying hello to those they hadn’t seen in almost a week, the attacker struck.
5. One-year anniversary of other incident
Monday’s attack happened 364 days after a man fired gunshots in the Wexner Center for the Arts on OSU’s campus. That incident happened on a Sunday morning when few people were there, and no one was hurt.
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 7:53 AM
AUSTIN, Texas — Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, Texas, remembered him as a kind young man and a talented musician.
Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet.
Mason’s Facebook page shows that he was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in local music programs such as the Austin Youth Orchestra, where he was the principal double bass player, and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves, where he was also the principal bassist.
“He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around,” said his friend, Kylie Phillips. “He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. … I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died.”
Another friend from school, Stephanie Lucio, remembered him as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”
“As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery,” Lucio said. “She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”
Former Austin Council Member Mike Martinez said he had met Mason and re-posted on Facebook a photo of them together.
“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”
Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said Tuesday.
The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster, offered his condolences, calling Mason a “most remarkable talent” who had the “chops to study music in college.”
“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school … He carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” Dempster said. “The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak.”
Some of Mason’s teachers grieved for him on social media, describing him as a remarkable student.
Sam Osemene, a U.S. government professor at Austin Community College, said he was intelligent and well-loved by everyone in the classroom.
“He was a very vibrant young man, full of life, always smiling,” Osemene told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. “He had what I call a zeal to succeed.”
Mason had previously shared a couple videos of classical string performances on his Facebook page, and several photos of him show him playing a double bass or sitting at a piano.
A spokesperson from Soundwaves said Mason had worked with its executive director since he was 11 years old.
Mason had left a five-star review on Austin Soundwaves’ Facebook page: “Austin Soundwaves is a great music programs that’s dedicated to the advancement of kids in East Austin thru the power of music,” he wrote. “They push everyone to strive and to do great things in life.”
The group had been contacted by Mason’s family and asked not to comment further.
Mason had performed with the Austin Youth Orchestra for the last six years, its conductor, William Dicks, said Tuesday.
“He was an outstanding young man that had the talent and artistry to be a first class professional musician,” Dicks said. “It’s senseless.”
Anthony House, who was killed in the first package bombing on March 2, was father to an 8-year-old girl and a Pflugerville High School and Texas State University graduate. Friends remembered him as quiet, clean-cut and driven.
House ran track and played basketball at Pflugerville High School where he made friendships that lasted throughout his life.
“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” said fellow Pflugerville Panther Greg Padgitt, who graduated two years before House. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”
After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in business administration, finance and financial management services in 2008, House started a money managing firm, serving as president of House Capital Management LLC. More recently he worked as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries, a Cedar Park-based lime fabricator, and Acme Brick, a Fort Worth-based firm. According to public records, House had recently begun attending Austin Community College.
House’s family members declined to speak to the media Tuesday, but Freddie Dixon, House’s stepfather, had previously told the Washington Post that he thinks the bombings were a hate crime.
“Are you trying to say something to prominent African-American families?” Dixon, who is close friends with Mason’s grandfather and is the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League, told the Post. “It’s not just coincidental.”
Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
AUSTIN, Texas — Three package explosions in Austin in the past two weeks appear similar and related, authorities said Monday, and police are warning residents against taking suspicious packages inside their homes.
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 11:51 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:48 AM
— UPDATE @ 12:42 a.m.:
Interstate 75 south of the Austin Landing exit just before the Springboro Franklin exit is now open after being shut down following a vehicle accident.
The single vehicle crash occurred when a car traveling northbound on I-75 drove into the median then into the southbound lane causing the car to flip at least one time, according to troopers.
One male, the driver of the car, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, troopers said.
The southbound lanes were shut down for about an hour.
It is not known what caused the accident.
UPDATE @ 11:55 p.m.:
The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 are shut down due to debris in the roadway following a rollover crash involving more than one vehicle, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lebanon Post.
It is not clear how many people are injured, nor whether any lanes will reopen soon.
The crash was reported around 11:45 p.m. at the 40 milepost, south of the Austin Landing exit just before the Springboro Franklin exit.
Crews were called tonight to a report of an injury crash on in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 south of the Austin Landing exit.
The crash was reported around 11:45 p.m.
According to initial reports, at least one vehicle was on its top.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lebanon Post is investigating.
We have a crew on the way and will update this report.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:35 AM
— Mostly sunny skies are expected today, which will be a nice day with highs in the lower 50s, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said.
Tonight: A few more clouds are expected overnight as temperatures drop into the lower 30s.
Monday: Clouds will increase through the day with highs in the lower to middle 50s. The chance for rain returns in the evening, and with temperatures falling past sunset, a few wet flakes may mix in as well.
Tuesday: A few lingering snow showers or a wintry mix will be possible early. Mostly cloudy skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 40s.
Wednesday: The chance for any snow looks small, but can’t be ruled out. It’ll be a cold day with highs in the upper 30s.