Police body camera footage and other documents released by Ohio State University on Monday – a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on main campus – paints a chaotic and dramatic scene that left the attacker dead and 11 students and staff members injured.
“As soon as the firefighters got back in their truck to leave, the Honda Civic came flying in, hit a bunch of kids,” says one young man being interviewed by police at the scene. “Everybody was just running and he gets out of the car with a knife and starts running….He jumps out with a knife and starts chasing them down.”
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On Nov. 28, 2016, shortly before 10 a.m. OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a 2002 silver Honda Civic onto a crowded sidewalk, jumped out of the car and began slashing people with a large kitchen knife. Security cameras captured images of the Civic driving on campus but not the actual attack.
OSU police officer Alan Horujko recalled what the day was like and how he came to realize that the incident outside Watts Hall was an attack and not just a car accident.
“Everything slowed down a whole bunch and I remember everything sounding ‘echoy’ and very surreal,” Horujko said in an interview released by the university. “I was able to pick up on a bunch of details. I yelled after him multiple times drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife, but he never looked back at me never acknowledged me.”
Horujko said he chased the attacker on foot for about 100 yards, near the entrance of another campus building. Artan eventually noticed him and charged at him with the knife. Horujko, who joined the force in January 2015, fired his department-issued Glock 22 five times and called for medics.
Columbus Fire Department medics responded. “I got one DOA right now and I got multiple victims. I got, I think, three,” one paramedic is heard on audio records released Monday.
“I remember him …running straight at me at that point and then that’s when I ended up firing my weapon at him but I don’t even remember the sound of my own gun going off,” Horujko said. He said his training kicked in and “kept my whole world from collapsing in on me.”
Horujko had been nearby when the attack happened, responding to a report of a possible gas leak at MacQuigg Lab. He said it felt like “there was a plan that had me there that day.”
“I’m a pretty private guy and like to be humble and out of the spotlight…Immediately after the fact I really didn’t really want any of that attention,” Horujko said. “I just wanted to go back to normal life and normal patrol and helping people out.”
The university will hold a 30-minute event at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Ohio Union to reflect on the attack.
FBI officials said last year that Artan may have been inspired by ISIS or radical Islamic leaders. FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren said the agency will release a brief statement on the status of the case on Tuesday.
Artan, 20, who was born in Somalia and immigrated to the U.S. with his mother and siblings in 2014, was in his first semester as an OSU student.
The Somali Student Association at OSU condemned the attack and said it had no affiliation with Artan.
Roughly 100,000 Muslims call central Ohio home — somewhere between 45,000 and 70,000 of whom are of Somali heritage. It is the second largest Somali population in the United States, behind the Minnesota Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.