UPDATE: The suspect in Monday’s Ohio State University attack was an 18-year-old of Somali descent, a federal law enforcement official said. Investigators have identified the suspect, who lived in the area, but have not publicized his name, the official said. The car used in the attack was registered to a family member. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
OHIO (CNN) – A suspect attacked several people with a knife at Ohio State University on Monday, sending eight people to hospitals and prompting a campus-wide lockdown, authorities said.
The suspect is dead, and authorities on the ground believe the threat is contained, said a law enforcement official briefed on the latest information.
The eight people hospitalized have non-life-threatening injuries, according to officials at three local hospitals.
OSU Emergency Management lifted a shelter-in-place order late Monday morning.
“Scene is now secure,” the department tweeted. But classes are canceled for the rest of the day.
As the chaos unfolded, university officials reported an active shooter incident at Watts Hall.
It’s possible the gunshots heard were those of police trying to stop the attacker, a federal law enforcement official said.
Investigators believe the assailant also used a car at the beginning of the attack, and the entire attack happened outside.
OSU student Jacob Bower, 20, said he saw a man pull a knife outside between the Koffolt Laboratories and Watts Hall.
“He pulled a large knife and started chasing people around, trying to attack them,” Bower told CNN. He said it appeared to be a large kitchen knife.
“Luckily there were so many people, he couldn’t focus on one target. I didn’t see anyone get stabbed, but I saw the police officer take down the stabber. He waited till everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping. (It) took three shots to take him down. (The) stabber had a crazy look in his eyes.”
When asked if the suspect yelled or said anything during the attack, Bower told CNN: “He was completely silent. Which was very creepy. Not even when he was shot (by police).”
“The cop that subdued the guy with the knife saved so many lives today.”
The motive for the attack was not immediately known.
‘Run Hide Fight,’ university says
Earlier, campus officials urged people to shelter in place.
“Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College,” OSU Emergency Management tweeted Monday morning.
Watts Hall is the university’s materials science and engineering building.
OSU senior Anthony Falzarano, 22, said he was in class at the time.
“We heard a lot of sirens. I was in class and everyone got a text message at the same time for the emergency alert,” he told CNN during the lockdown. “Someone said they heard popping right before we got the alert, but I didn’t hear it. We are in a shelter-in-place right now in the building next door. ”
“The officers are putting on Kevlar vests and have big weapons,” he said. “I can’t see anyone going inside the building — there’s just so many cops here.”
Some students piled chairs against a door to barricade themselves.
“I’m safe in a barricaded room,” Harrison Roth tweeted. “If you’re on campus, get in a room and stay safe.”
Ohio State University’s main campus in Columbus is one of the largest in the United States. The university has more than 65,000 students enrolled across the state.
Students had just returned to class Monday after the Thanksgiving break — and after the OSU football team’s big win Saturday over the school’s biggest rival, University of Michigan.
Michigan’s athletic department tweeted its support for OSU, saying “Stay safe, Buckeyes.”
Students are getting ready for final exams, which begin on December 9.
The incident also comes during the first month of the OSU public safety director’s job. Monica Moll came to the helm on October 31.