ISIS has claimed responsibility for the slashing attack on the Ohio State University campus on Nov. 28 that injured 11 people. The organization also called Somali refugee Abdul Artan an ISIS "soldier."
However, Artan's family defend his innocence and state they had no idea the OSU student had become an extremist and was planning a terror attack.
Arian had plowed his car into an OSU campus crowd and started knifing people before being shot dead by a police officer. Eleven people sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
"He was a sweet boy," a family friend said, The Daily Mail reports. "This is not anything that we teach our people. We are just as shocked as everyone else. His family are in mourning. They cannot understand how this horrible situation happened. It's just so unexpected."
The director of the Ohio Somali Muslim Association confirmed the attacker's mother had spoken to him and was "devastated" by what he had done.
Hassan Omar, 54, said: "She was, as you can imagine, shocked that her son had done such a horrible act. She cannot believe her son could kill and she felt that she hardly knew her son at all because of it."
Omar, a stranger to Artan and his family before the knifing attack, asked the public to see it as a one-time incident.
"This doesn't speak for the Somali people, this is something we absolutely condemn and are shocked that such a awful thing could happen," Omar said.
Friends of the Somali refugee attackers said the violent episode did not square with their understanding of the easygoing young adult they knew.
"He actually loved America," said friend Ameer Kadar, who last saw Artan two weeks ago, NBC News reports. "He loved the fact of the opportunity he had here to go to school… He loved the fact that he was able to get a college degree."
"He was a very sweet and humble person," said family friend Haroon Khan, who met Artan's family in Pakistan. "He can never do such an act, honestly."
Police have yet to find a motive for the knifing incident. Two U.S. Intelligence officials said there was no known communication between Artan and ISIS, which contradicts the terrorist organization's claims that Artan was working for them as "a soldier of the Islamic State."