Susan Dismukes was still trembling three hours after the first text message from her daughter Catherine, 22, alerted her there was an attack under way on the Ohio State University campus where she is a senior.
“She was really nervous. And I’m still shaking,” Dismukes said Monday afternoon in an interview from her Ben Avon home, near Pittsburgh.
Despite early reports, the attacker didn’t have a gun.
But university officials said people suffered injuries ranging from stab wounds and cuts to blunt force injuries in the attack that began when Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born student and legal resident of the United States, rammed his car into pedestrians, police said. Police believe Artan is 20. He then jumped out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife. Eleven were injured, one critically; police shot and killed Artan.
Ohio State student Martin Schneider of Mt. Lebanon heard the car’s engine revving.
“I thought it was an accident initially until I saw the guy come out with a knife,” Schneider said. He said the man simply got out and began stabbing those around him.
Dismukes’ fear didn’t end until more than an hour later when Ohio State authorities lifted the “shelter in place” alert that went out about 10 a.m.
Many Ohio State alumni and parents followed the events Monday online or in breaking news updates from the sprawling Columbus, Ohio, campus where 60,000 students populate a city within a city. Dismukes, a 1979 Ohio State graduate and longtime alumni recruiter, followed the incident through texts her daughter sent from an office in the Ohio Union. The young woman was on lockdown there throughout the rampage and for about an hour after as police secured the area.
Others learned about the incident through Twitter.
Malik Hooker, of New Castle, a starting safety on the Division I Buckeye football team, tweeted, “I’m Good Everybody Thanks For Y’all Concern With Me And Our Campus Keep Those Who Were Affected By This In Yalls Prayer.”
Laura Bakewell, of Elizabeth Township, learned about the chaos through a text message.
Her daughter, Gabey, 20, a sophomore, texted that she was fine.
“And then you find out her dorm is just across from where that happened and your heart jumps a little,” Bakewell said.
Gabey is one of the Bakewell quadruplets scattered at colleges from Maryland to Ohio. Laura Bakewell said her husband, Tom, was still en route home from delivering another daughter to Salisbury University on Maryland’s eastern shore when the news broke.
“It’s not your worst nightmare. Obviously she’s fine. But you send them off to school and these are the things you worry about and things you discuss. It’s the world we live in,” Laura Bakewell said.
Sarah Daly, a criminology professor at St. Vincent College, near Latrobe, commended campus police. Their preparation and prompt action likely kept bloodshed to a minimum, she said.
Daly said the attack stood out for the weapons used — a car and a knife, not a gun. “And we’ve seen terrorist organizations encouraging their followers to use anything they can get their hands on as a weapon and to cause chaos,” she said.
She cautioned against seizing upon any one facet of the suspected attacker’s life as the sole trigger of the incident.
“And whatever the cause or motive may be, typically there are hundreds of thousands or millions who experience this kind of thing who don’t go out and do this,” Daley said.
Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. The Associated Press contributed.