Officials at the Ohio State University held a press conference yesterday in Columbus to give an update on the patients who were attacked Monday.
William Clark, emeritus professor from the Ohio State College of Engineering, was discharged from OSU Wexner Medical Center yesterday after he said he was struck by the vehicle driven by Abdul Razak Ali Artan.
Clark said he has been teaching for more than 30 years and that for him, teaching has been a calling in his life.
He said he was standing outside Monday after a fire alarm had gone off due to a gas leak in an engineering lab. He said the Columbus Fire Department and the Columbus Police Department went inside the building in full gear to check out the gas leak.
“After about 15 to 20 minutes they finally came out. That’s usually a sign that they’ve cleared the building and it’s about time to go in. I began to walk back, a little bit east, on West 19th towards the back entrance of Watts Hall there…and as I was walking, I suddenly heard a shout and then this tremendous crash,” said Clark. He said the silver Honda, driven by Abdul Razak Ali Artan, mounted the curb and hit a large concrete planter on the curb and bounced off, stopping the car.
“As it was stopping, it clipped the back of my right leg, and basically flipped me up in the air, and I landed on concrete, which at my age is not what you want to do. So I was there and a little bit dazed, and thinking about how to get up, and meanwhile the perpetrator exited the vehicle on the other side, the road side, which was the driver side, and had begun to attack students and there was a lot of noise and a lot of shouting,” said Clark. “However, I got up, and with a number of students and some others, slowly started to make progress toward the building to get in the building.”
After striking several people with the Honda, Artan ran down the street and stabbed other individuals.
Clark said before he could get into the building, which was probably only 20 yards away, he heard the three shots fired by Alan Horujko, an OSU police officer. Horujko’s shots killed Artan.
Clark said he went down into the basement of the building, which he knew very well, and sat there. He had two severe and deep lacerations in his leg and left bloody footprints all the way down the hall into the basement. He said emergency medical technicians came to help him and he was transported to OSU Wexner Medical Center.
“I didn’t really know what to think,” said Clark, who said he thought it was a car accident but then heard all of the shouting and saw people in panic. “Then I figured out it was more than just an accident.”
Clark said he believes the two lacerations on his leg were from the Honda hitting his leg and not from being stabbed by Artan. “I didn’t see any of the people who were stabbed.”
Artan was an OSU student, and Clark said Artan had graduated from Columbus State earlier this year. Clark speculated to Artan’s motives, saying that it could have been a combination of stressors from school, colleagues or family that caused Artan’s actions.
He said he wasn’t going to believe that ISIS was behind the attack until the full story could be known with all of the facts.
“Anybody can take responsibility for anything,” said Clark.
“I think, at this state, until we really know the facts, I prefer to withhold judgment,” said Clark. “Before I pass judgment on this young man, I would like to see exactly what the circumstances were and why.”
At the end of the day, Clark said that out of respect for the living and dead, “we should wait to determine the truth.”
Clark said he thinks the officer who killed Artan, Horujko, did the right thing.
“I hope people realize, as horrible as this is, it’s an isolated incident,” said Clark. “University campuses are vulnerable to that kind of thing because we are an open society…we’re still in the top 20 in the university rankings in the country.”
Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said that with over 50,000 students and tens of thousands of faculty and staff in a city of over a million people, “I’m quite confident we will be resilient and be fine down the road.”
Thomas said three victims are still in the hospital and the rest have been discharged.
“There appear to be no life-threatening injuries,” said Thomas.
Police and law enforcement are continuing to investigate the incident.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton