At least 11 people were injured in an apparent car-ramming and knife attack at Ohio State University on Monday, triggering an hours-long lockdown before authorities declared the campus secure.
One suspect was shot and killed, the university said in a statement, while local television station WBNS reported that police had led two people out in handcuffs from a garage they surrounded on the campus in Columbus.
Rebecca Diehm, spokeswoman for the city’s fire department, said eight people were transported to hospital--one in critical condition, and the rest stable. Media reports suggested as many as 10 were injured.
A university statement said: “Victim injuries include stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated.”
OSU Wexner Medical Center tweeted that it was treating four victims, none with life-threatening injuries.
One witness suggested that a suspect had plowed into a crowd with a red SUV. The incident was called an active shooter situation, but it was unclear whether any of the victims had suffered firearm injuries.
An unnamed student quoted by the local NBC affiliate said that students had evacuated a building due to a fire alarm, and that a man had then “started slashing at them” with a knife or machete.
“There were one or two people inside a car and they tried running over people,” the student said. “One person jumped out and started slashing people.”
Authorities lifted the alert shortly after 11:30 am (1630 GMT), around two hours after the start of the incident.
“Shelter in Place lifted. Scene is now secure. ALL classes are canceled on Columbus campus for the remainder of the day,” the OSU emergency management services tweeted as it declared the incident over.
A subsequent tweet advised the public to avoid the area in the north of the sprawling campus, saying: “Police continue to process scene.”
‘Everybody was running’
Earlier the university’s emergency management service had urged students and staff to shelter in place amid reports of an active shooter, as SWAT teams fanned out across the facility.
An FBI team was also on the scene.
“Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College,” the service said in a tweet. A second tweet moments later told the public to “Continue to shelter in place. Avoid area of College.”
Details were murky as the situation unfolded. One student told MSNBC she was walking along a road on campus when a car plowed into a group of people, including a police officer.
Another student, Joseph Noll, said he heard a fire alarm, but no shooting -- and also said a car had driven into the crowd.
“I was right there, and there was no one shot,” he told WBNS. “Someone DID run over a crowd of people with their car. I can tell you that for sure.”
“I just heard some screams, and I saw people running,” he said. “And everyone just fled the scene immediately.”
Student Cydney Ireland told ABC she was walking out of class when she also heard screams.
“And then after that -- which this is kind of strange -- there was a whistle almost like a referee whistle. I wondered if a sports team was practicing. That’s kind of an unusual thing to hear in the academic area,” she said.
“Probably five seconds after that, there were three gunshots.”
“Everybody was running in any direction they possibly could, students were running out of the classroom building,” she said from her hiding spot in a locked bathroom.
Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the United States, with roughly 60,000 students on the main campus in Columbus, which sprawls across more than 1,900 acres (770 hectares).