A man crashed his vehicle into pedestrians on the Ohio State campus in Columbus on Monday, then slashed students with a butcher knife before being fatally shot by a university police officer, authorities said.
Nine people were rushed to hospitals and one was in critical condition, according to university Police Chief Craig Stone.
The drama began shortly before 10 a.m. ET, when the suspect, whose name was not immediately released, deliberately drove up over the curb and began his attack, Stone said. He said the officer arrived about a minute later and engaged the suspect.
“We are very fortunate that an OSUPD officer was there and took quick action,” Stone said.
“Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College” the university’s emergency management agency tweeted. “Run hide fight” is emergency protocol used to warn people to flee if possible, hide from the shooter and, if all else fails, fight for your life.
Stone said it did not immediately appear that the attacker used a gun. The alert, however, apparently was sent after the suspect was fatally shot.
A short time later, the agency tweeted a warning to “Continue to shelter in place in north campus area. Follow directions of Police on scene.”
A SWAT team, K9 and bomb squad units and scores of law enforcement officials descended on the sprawling campus. Less than two hours after the first alert, university police said the shelter-in-place order was lifted and the “scene was secure.” Classes were canceled for the rest of the day.
“We prepare for situations like this but we hope we never have one,” school President Michael Drake said.
Columbus Police Chief Chief Kim Jacobs, whose officers also responded to the attack, said it could have been an act of terror. “That’s why our federal partners are here and helping,” she said.
Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco briefed President Obama on the incident, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. He said FBI agents in Columbus were assisting with the investigation.
Freshman Meredith Johnson, 19, was in a psychology class when the university alert popped up on her teacher’s power point screen. The teacher and students thought it might have been a scam, she said.
“Three or four minutes later we got the text,” Johnson said. “Stay indoors. Active shooter. That’s when I started freaking out.”
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