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The 18-year-old man who attacked a dozen people at Ohio State University Monday morning bought a knife while on a trip to Washington, D.C., last week, according to multiple reports Wednesday night.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan had swung into the Washington area over the Thanksgiving weekend when he popped into the District’s only Home Depot, in Northeast D.C., on Rhode Island Avenue. Law enforcement officials told NBC-Washington that Artan purchased a knife, but could not confirm if he had planned to use it in an attack while in Washington.

“It’s a mystery at this point. Was he planning to do something here? Was it something else? We simply don’t know,” one official said.

Artan bought another knife at a Walmart in Columbus, Ohio, shortly before ramming his car into a crowd and stabbing people Monday morning, according to police. Officials say he used this knife that was used in the campus attack. A police officer fatally shot Artan during the attack, making it more difficult for investigators to find out what the suspect had planned to do with the knife he had purchased days earlier.



The FBI said on Wednesday it “appears,” based on a Facebook post by Artan, that he had been inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric who was killed five years ago in a drone strike. Investigators are in the early stages of sweeping Artan’s social media profiles and computer to learn more about his motive for the crimes.

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