Officer Alan Horujko, who started on the university police force in January 2015, was responding to reports of a nearby gas leak when the car jumped a curb on campus at 9:52 a.m.
Horujko ordered the attacker, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, to drop the knife and then shot him when he didn’t obey the command, university president Michael Drake said.
“The officer encountered the individual by 9:53 — the subject was neutralized by 9:53,” Drake said, underscoring how quickly events unfolded.
Horujko is owed a debt of gratitude, said Monica Moll, director of Ohio State’s Department of Public Safety.
“He did a fabulous job today,” she said.
University police Chief Craig Stone said it was fortunate the officer had gone to investigate the gas leak, which helped position him to respond to the attack so quickly.
Eleven people were hurt in the attack. Police said they were investigating whether it was terrorism.
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The FBI joined the investigation.
Mayor Andrew Ginther called Horujko an “outstanding young law enforcement officer.”
“There has never been a more dangerous or complicated and challenging time to be a police officer, and we had a dynamic well-trained professional today save the lives of many of our residents and students,” said Ginther, a Democrat.
Horujko, 28, was placed on administrative leave Monday and the investigation turned over to Columbus police, consistent with protocol for police shootings. Horujko appears to be an avid runner, with several half-marathons under his belt, according to online race results.
Gov. John Kasich praised the speed with which Horujko and other officers acted.
Kasich, a Republican, described the response as “an unbelievable, amazing and outstanding and heroic performance on the part of our first responders.”
The university police department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. It has officers on the main campus in Columbus and on regional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark and Wooster.