Suspect in Ohio attack linked to Dallas

DALLAS (ABC NEWS , USA TODAY AND WFAA) - The suspect in an attack at Ohio State that left 11 injured has been linked to Dallas, according to Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities confirmed Abdul Razak Ali Artan briefly stayed at their shelter in Dallas.

Artan was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident. He later enrolled at Columbus State Community College from the fall semester of 2014 through the summer semester of 2016, according to college spokesman Allen Kraus.

He graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in the spring of 2016 and then took a non-credit class for summer 2016. He had no record of behavioral or disciplinary issues during his time at Columbus State and graduated with honors, Kraus added.

Catholic Charities of Dallas says the organization helps relocate approximately 250 refugee families annually from war torn countries in the Middle East like Iraq and Syria and Somalia in eastern Africa.  Executive director David Woodyard says it's about serving those in need.

"These people all fit that criteria and we are trusting our government has done an appropriate check and they are coming to us the best possible manner," Wooyard said.

Authorities are investigating an anti-U.S. rant posted on Facebook just minutes before the Ohio State University attack today that is believed to be linked to the suspect, sources told ABC News.

Appearing three minutes before the beginning of the rampage that left 11 people injured, the post reads: “I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

The post also invokes the name Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaeda cleric, describing him as a “hero." Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 but his propaganda has been linked to several domestic terrorist attacks in the years after his death.

Authorities identified Artan as the attacker in a press conference this afternoon, but said they have not determined a motive and the investigation is ongoing. Sources told ABC News that he is a of Somali descent and is a legal permanent resident in the United States.

Officials said that this morning’s attack began when the assailant drove a vehicle into several people before exiting and slashing victims with a knife.

The attack comes as the ISIS terror group has been urging its followers in recent weeks to copy the vehicle attack that took place in Nice, France, when 84 people were killed by a terrorist driving a semi-truck through a Bastille Day celebration. And it comes two days after the terror group published a video instructing its followers on how to use a knife to attack non-believers. ISIS is not mentioned in the Facebook post.

“So many people, who are flipped by ISIS propaganda remotely, look like they are leading successful lives,” said Richard Clarke, an ABC News contributor and former U.S. National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism. “It's so hard to predict when the propaganda will get through to them to the point where they crack and go violent.”

As the attack unfolded, a police officer near the scene responded almost immediately, shooting and killing the attacker within about a minute of the beginning of the attack. Several of the knife attack victims have been treated at nearby hospitals and are expected to survive.

Just three months ago an OSU student named Abdul Razak Artan was quoted in OSU's college newspaper, The Lantern, as he discussed his troubles finding a place to pray on his new campus.

"I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I'm a Muslim, it's not what the media portrays me to be," he is quoted in the paper as saying. "If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they're going to think, what's going to happen. But I don't blame them. It's the media that put that picture in their heads, so they're just going to have it, and it — it's going to make them feel uncomfortable."

In The Lantern, Artan said he is a transfer from Columbus State, presumably Columbus State Community College. Online records from that school said he graduated from there in May with an associate of arts degree.

Asked about Artan, the vice president of marketing and communications at Columbus State told ABC News in a statement, "Abdul Razak Ali Artan was enrolled at Columbus State Community College from autumn semester 2014 through summer semester 2016. He graduated with an associate of arts degree in spring of 2016 and then continued taking additional noncredit classes through summer semester 2016."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News' Randy Kreider, Cho Park Lee Ferran and Paul Blake contributed to this report.


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