Ohio State students in 'disbelief' over attack on campus

Police: Suspect used vehicle, butcher knife
Posted at 1:04 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 10:45:13-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For Benjamin Crum, the coincidences were all too real.

Crum was inside the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry building at The Ohio State University when the school went into lockdown Monday morning. Emergency officials reported there was an "active shooter" on campus.

The school has a training video on active-shooter situations. Crum was hunkered down, lights turned off, inside the building where that training video was recorded. And he saw the attacker as he left the building, lying dead on the ground and surrounded by police.

University officials later said the man drove over a curb, struck some pedestrians and then attacked with a butcher knife just before 10 a.m.

"It's definitely going to be hard the next couple of days but we just gotta move on," Crum said.

The university announced a #BuckeyeStrong rally for 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. John Arena to help restore a sense of campus security. This comes after a handful of vigils Monday night around campus.

“Being a Buckeye means something,” said Micky Sharma, director of Ohio State's Counseling and Consultation Service in the rally announcement. “We heal together by supporting one another.”

Students and staff have set up a wall to write thanks you notes and messages of inspiration inside the OSU student union.

Like Crum, thousands of students huddled in dorm rooms and classrooms Monday morning, stunned at an attack coming just days after the joyful excitement of a hard-fought win against rival Michigan before a record crowd.

Like many, sophomore Toni DiPietro texted her family to let them know she was safe. DiPietro lives in a dorm less than a block from Watts Hall, an academic building that was the epicenter of Monday's attack.

Friends told DiPietro they heard gunshots, she said. An officer shot the attacker dead within a minute, Ohio State Chief of Police Craig Stone said.

Victims' injuries included stab wounds and injuries from being struck by a vehicle. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said one person was in critical condition. Ten others suffered injuries that aren't considered life-threatening. They were taken to three Columbus-area hospitals.

"We’re here for them, and we want to do everything to help them have a full and complete recovery and let them know that we care for them as people as well as patients,” Ohio State President Michael Drake said.

Watch the entire news conference below:


DiPietro initially learned about the attack from a Buckeye Alert, an emergency text message sent by the university. At that point, campus officials were referring to the incident as an "active shooter" on campus.

"My initial reaction was disbelief," she said.

Lecture halls don't lock in some buildings, OSU student Madeline Schwarz said, which left many people on edge. She was about five blocks away from Monday's attack but had a roommate near the scene. Schwarz is the daughter of WCPO reporter Lucy May.

"Everyone’s really frazzled -- we immediately called our family members to tell them that’s we’re OK," Schwarz said.

COLUMN: From the heart, from an Ohio State mom

Carver Nabb, a student living in the Mendoza House dormitory, said "it was a little bit freaky" to see police clearing the streets and locking down the area. As students tried to check on friends, he said, there were tense moments waiting to hear back.

"It was a little nerve-wracking, just knowing -- because there definitely were people who didn't have phones on them at the time," Nabb said. "So it was nerve-racking to reach out to friends on campus and not receive any response and not know if they were OK or not."


The university lifted its shelter-in-place order by about 11 a.m. At that point, people poured out of buildings, Nabb said.

"It's nice to to know that law enforcement was able to get everything under control," Nabb said. "It's just nice to know that everyone, or the majority of students, are safe and that everything is going to be alright from here."

With classes canceled Monday, he and DiPietro both said they planned to stay in their dorm rooms most of the day. 

Students, teachers and Columbus residents held a vigil at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church Monday night. Pastor Jason Ridley of the Hilltop Community Worship Center, said the overwhelming feeling on campus was one of gratitude that the 11 victims were all expected to recover from their injuries.


“Everybody here is praying for those who were attacked and even the family of the attacker who died,” said OSU freshman Olivia Dottore. “It’s amazing seeing that such a big school can come together so fast."