The suspect in a knife attack at Ohio State University that injured 11 people posted an online rant shortly before he drove his car into a crowd and began stabbing people.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan was shot and killed by a police officer after jumped out of his car and attacked people with a butcher knife at the Columbus campus, said Monica Moll, director of public safety for Ohio State University.

Terrified witnesses described a crash, gunfire, stabbings and screaming students sprinting to find a hiding place. It was yet another sign that universities, once thought of as peaceful havens, are vulnerable to sudden, violent attacks.

Three minutes before the beginning of the attack that left 11 people injured he left a post on what appeared to be his Facebook account, according to ABC News.

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"America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah (community). We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that," he posted, CNBC reported.

"If you want us Muslims to stop carrying (out) lone wolf attacks, then make peace," the post allegedly read. "We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims."

Artan's Facebook page appears to have since been disabled, ABC News said.

He said in a previous interview with the student newspaper that he was scared to pray on campus. The Lantern posted an interview with Artan that it had published in August as part of its Humans of Ohio State feature. In the interview, Artan, a third-year logistics management student, said he had recently transferred to Ohio State from Columbus State University.

Artan talked about being a Muslim and said that Columbus State had offered more accommodations for prayer. "We had prayer rooms, like actual rooms where we could go pray because we Muslims have to pray five times a day."

Artan said he was scared to pray openly on campus and feared that media portrayals of Muslims would give people the wrong idea about him. "This place is huge, and I don't even know where to pray. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they're going to think, what's going to happen. ... But I just did it. ... I went over to the corner and just prayed."

The 18-year-old immigrant from Somalia was a lawful permanent resident of the United States, two US government sources said.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said intelligence agencies were assisting in the investigation. "It bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalised," Schiff said.

- AAP, Washington Post