OSU administrator criticized over call for compassion for attacker

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 file photo, police respond to an attack on campus at Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio. The Somali-born student who injured nearly a dozen people in a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University showed few signs of bitterness and even danced onto the stage when he graduated from community college. Abdul Razak Ali Artan was shot to death by a university police officer when he refused to drop his knife during Monday's attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – An Ohio State administrator is being criticized for urging compassion for the Somali-born student who injured 11 people in a car-and-knife attack on campus before he was shot to death by police.

Stephanie Clemons Thompson, an assistant director of residence life at the university, urged people on Facebook to stop sharing photos of 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s dead body and to not celebrate his death.

“I pray you find compassion for his life, as troubled as it clearly was,” she wrote earlier this week. “Think of the pain he must have been in to feel that his actions were the only solution.”

Those comments have sparked anger on social media, with an online petition calling for her to be fired.

Thompson has since removed the post. Thompson didn’t immediately return messages left at her office Friday.

Ben Johnson, a university spokesman, said Thompson’s comment is not an official university statement and instead represents her personal viewpoint.

Authorities are investigating whether the attack by Artan on Monday was terrorism. The FBI has said Artan might have been inspired by the Islamic State group and a former al-Qaida leader killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Artan was in his first semester at Ohio State and came to the U.S. in 2014 as the child of a refugee after living in Pakistan for years.

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