Ohio State University attack: British professor injured in car ramming wants to 'hold judgement' on attacker

'Having been a faculty member for 35 years I'm only too aware of the things that drive students sometimes to do things that they wouldn't ordinarily do'

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A British professor who was injured in a suspected terror attack at Ohio State University says he will reserve judgement on the perpetrator, despite Isis claiming responsibility for the attack.

William Clark, an Oxford-educated emeritus professor at the university, was one of 11 people injured in the attack when Abdul Razak Ali Artan ran him and one other victim over before stabbing several others. 

Prof Clark had evacuated the engineering building after a fire alarm due to an unrelated gas leak and was standing outside when Artan struck. 

In a press conference at Ohio State medical centre on Tuesday, Prof Clark said the car had “clipped the back of my right leg and flipped me up in the air”. 

He had initially thought it was a car accident but as he lay on the ground he could see Artan get out of the car with a butcher’s knife and begin to stab students as they walked between classes, he said.

"There was a lot of noise and a lot of shouting. However, I got up and with a number of students started to make progress toward the building," he explained.

The 18-year-old student was then shot three times by Officer Alan Horujko. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Speaking about Officer Horujko, Prof Clark said the “wanted to put his arm around him” as he would be living with the decision to shoot “for the rest of his life, but he did the right thing”.

But as for his attacker, Prof Clark said he would reserve judgment until more facts come to light.

He said: “Until I know all the facts, I am going to hold judgement. Having been a faculty member for 35 years I'm only too aware of the things that drive students sometimes to do things that they wouldn't ordinarily do.

“At the end of the day, I'm sore but I'm going home this afternoon. He's dead. So I think my sense is out of respect just for the living and the dead that we should wait until we know what exactly the situation is.”

Artan, who was a permanent US resident of Somali origin, allegedly left behind a note saying he was sick of hate crimes against Muslims in the country and reportedly referred to al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki as a “hero”.

Isis has since claimed responsibility for the attack in a propaganda statement calling Artan a "soldier". As Isis continues to lose swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, its propaganda has been increasingly focusing on inciting attacks by supporters in the West.

A video entitled “Slaughter the Disbelievers” was released over the weekend with instructions on how to carry out knife and bomb attacks, while an Isis English language propaganda magazine urged followers to use car rammings a fortnight before.

Ohio police told US media the attack was Isis-inspired and the FBI are continuing to search Artan’s home. All the victims are expected to make a full recovery.