(CNN) – Today ISIS is claiming responsibility for inspiring the attack on the campus of the Ohio State University, releasing a statement on its propaganda news website.
There is no evidence the claim is true. Investigators will only say they are looking at terrorism as a possible motive.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “There is plenty of available evidence to indicate that this individual may have been motivated by extremism and may have been motivated by a desire to carry out an act of terrorism.”
A post on Abdul Artan’s Facebook page just before the rampage pays tribute to Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Aw Awlaki and admonishes the United States, saying, “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday.”
Investigators are scrutinizing his cellphone and laptop and interviewing those who knew him to learn more about his motivations.
Neighbor Louann Carnahan said, “They asked me the same questions everybody else is asking, you know, about his character. You know, his character was presentable. I mean, he didn’t seem or appear to pose a threat to anybody.
The owner of a convenience store near Artan’s home says he came in regularly, including on the day before the attack.
Store Owner Hicham Ouhammou said, “He came in, he grabbed whatever he wanted, and we talked for a little bit, like hi how are you doing, how was your day. I mean that’s pretty much it, and he just left smiling like usual. That’s it.”
Artan was born in Somalia and moved to Pakistan as a refugee in 2007. He came to the United States with his mother and siblings in 2014 on a green card.
A U.S official says his family went through more than two years of intense vetting before being allowed into the United States. Once he arrived he attended a community college and then transferred to Ohio State, where he told the student newspaper he was self-conscious about showing his Muslim faith.
Artan and his family also apparently spent 23 days in Dallas in 2014 according to a faith based group who worked with them, but they left for unknown reasons.
CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Philip Mudd noted, “This was an 18 year old. He had just transferred schools. We don’t understand his background with the family. He’s an immigrant. We don’t understand the issues he had emigrating. One of the difficulties in these is looking at what he’s claiming and comparing it to the rest of his life.”