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Injured Professor Recounts Ohio State Attack

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Esther Honig
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Ohio State professor William Clark, left, talked in a press conference Tuesday about being injured in Monday's attack on campus.

An Ohio State professor was one of 11 people injured yesterday at Ohio State University from an attacker who drove a car into a group of pedestrians and then stabbed people with a knife.

William Clark, a professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, suffered cuts from the car on both legs, which were closed in surgery, a more serious contusion on his left leg well and back pain from hitting the ground. He was released from OSU's Wexner Medical Center on Tuesday after spending the night.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital, Clark said he was standing outside of Watts Hall when the attacker – OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan – ran a car into a concrete planter.

“It happened so fast," Clark said. "I turned to go back into the building and suddenly there’s a bang and a car there and I get flipped in the air. It all happened so fast, I mean, literally - at least it seemed to me, maybe the time frame is a little compressed, but it seemed to me literally between 15-30 seconds I heard the shots. And it was over."

Clark said when he got up, he saw one other person on the ground who was hit by the car but had heard screams and rushed into the basement of Watts Hall. It wasn't until a few minutes later he realized he had been bleeding.

"It was also, in my view, very fortunate that he hit this big concrete planter, because if that had not there and he had ridden up on the curb, he would have hit 40-50 people," Clark said.

Dr. Andrew Thomas of Wexner Medical Center added that it was a "blessing" the attacker didn't have a gun.

Clark said an unrelated fire alarm, caused by a report of a gas leak, sent him and others outside the building.

Asked by reporters about what he thinks the attacker's motives were, Clark said, "I’m a research professor, so I like to make my guesses based on data, I’m afraid.”

Clark said he canceled his class scheduled for Wednesday, but plans on Friday to talk with his students about the event.

“University campuses are vulnerable to that kind of thing, because we are an open society so that young people can grow up and learn and make a certain amount of mistakes as part of growing up,” Clark said.

Only three of yesterday's victims remain hospitalized, but Thomas said he expects everyone to make a full recovery.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.