COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — The FBI is continuing to piece together information about Ohio State attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan.
Agents are considering terrorism as a possibility, after Artan drove a car into a crowd of people on the OSU campus and then attacked others with a knife.
ISIS claimed responsibility for inspiring Artan’s attack on it’s propaganda website on Tuesday. NBC news reports two intelligence agencies have said there are no known ties between Artan and ISIS or any other foreign terrorist organization. Those agencies say unsubstantiated claims from ISIS’ media arm have become routine with attacks.
Agents recovered at least two devices belonging to Artan after going through his apartment on Monday night. Investigators are also looking at his online activity.
“There is plenty of available evidence to indicate that this individual may have been motivated by extremism and may have been motivated by a desire to carry out an act of terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
A post on Artan’s Facebook page just before the attack cites Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Aw Awlaki by name and decries the United States by saying, “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to Muslims.”
“You will not celebrate of enjoy any holiday.”
NBC News reports a post on a Facebook page believed to belong to Artan showed a picture of a document on a Dell computer screen with the warning: “Screenshot this before it gets deleted.” Below that was a jumbled post in which the author railed about the treatment of Muslims around the world, including the Rohingya in Burma.
There was no specific threat of violence but a suggestion that the U.S. could stop “lone wolf attacks” by making peace with “dawla in al sham,” an outdated name for ISIS. He wrote that he had reached “a boiling point” and included a bombastic vow to “kill a billion infidels” to save a single Muslim. He also name-checked radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, calling him a “hero.”
Investigators are also looking at Artan’s laptop and cellphone, as well as interviewing people who knew him to try and understand his motivations.
“They asked me the same questions everybody else is asking, you know, about his character,” Artan’s neighbor Louann Carnahan said. “You know, his character was presentable.”
“I mean, he didn’t seem or appear to pose a threat to anybody.”
CNN reports Artan was born in Somalia. He moved to Pakistan as a refugee in 2007, before coming to the U.S. with his mother and siblings in 2014 on a green card.
A U.S. official says Artan’s family went through more than two years of intense screenings before being allowed into the country. After arriving in the U.S., Artan attended community college in Columbus before transferring to Ohio State.
An investigation shows Artan and his family spent 23 days in Dallas in 2014, according to a faith based group who worked with them. The family reportedly left for unknown reasons.
Some people who knew Artan best are expressing disbelief in the wake of the attack.
“He actually loved America,” Ameer Kadar, who last saw Artan two weeks ago, told NBC News. “He loved the fact of the opportunity he had here to go to school.”
“He loved the fact that he was able to get a college degree.”
Monday’s attack sent 11 people to the hospital. Three people are still hospitalized, but all of the victims are expected to recover.
An Ohio State University police officer shot and killed Artan after he failed to obey orders to stop.
The Columbus Police Department is expected to release more information about the investigation into the attack later on Wednesday.