Social media plays key role in Ohio campus attack

COLUMBUS (WDTN) – The attack at Ohio State played out in real time on social media as thousands of students, faculty and staff found out about the car-and-knife attack by just looking at their smartphones.

From Buckeye Alerts encouraging students to “Run, Hide, Fight,” and shelter in place, to notifications that classes were canceled on Monday, social media was the resource most commonly used to communicate with the masses during the Ohio State attack.

“Social media just enables you to touch so many lives so quickly and it’s just a tool that we can’t help but use and love,” Ohio State University prayer vigil participant Amanda Raines said.  Social media it simple and it’s personal in a lot of ways which is kind of weird because it’s technology.”

Thousands, if not millions, of people learned of the attack via social media as OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed his car into a crowd of pedestrians on College Road and began brutally attacking students and faculty members with a butcher knife in the middle of campus.

“When the car hit me, I really didn’t know what to think I thought maybe it was a traffic accident, but then when people started shouting immediately, I couldn’t hear what they were shouting, so obviously at that point I figured out it was more than just a car accident,” OSU Engineering Professor William Clark said.

Clark was struck by Artan’s car, which sent him flying in the air and eventually landing on the concrete. He suffered two deep lacerations and bruises on his legs.

Within minutes, OSU police officer Alan Horujko, checking on a reported gas leak in Watts Hall arrived, shooting and killing Artan before anyone else was injured. Eight out of the 11 victims, including Clark, have since been treated and released for the Hospital.

Artan’s neighbor Louann Carnahan said she was stunned by what officials found on his Facebook page.  Posts including “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah,”

“That doesn’t portray the person that I’ve seen every day since I’ve moved here,” Carnahan said.

University officials would not comment Tuesday about Artan’s Facebook messages or ISIS taking credit for Monday’s attack.

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