Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the man who injured 11 people, one critically, in a rampage on November 28 at Ohio State University, was of Somali descent, officials say.
The 18-year-old rammed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus then got out and began stabbing people before police shot him dead.
Police Chief Kim Jacobs said they were investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a student at the 60,000-student campus in Columbus.
The Somali-born was living in the US as a legal permanent resident, unnamed officials told AP.
Law enforcement officials quoted by NBC News said Abdul Razak Ali Artan had left Somalia with his family in 2007, and lived in Pakistan before resettling two years ago in the US.
Asked at a news conference whether it could have been a terrorist act, Police Chief Kim Jacobs said: “I think we have to consider that it is.”
She added: “Obviously with the purposeful intent that was noticed – driving on the sidewalk – we’re going look at it from the potential that it was planned.”
The FBI has joined the police investigation.
The Ohio State incident began at 10:00 local time on Monday when a vehicle jumped the kerb at the campus, striking pedestrians near Watts Hall, the science and engineering building.
Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said the driver got out of the vehicle and began stabbing bystanders with a “butcher’s knife”.
A police officer, who was nearby because of a gas leak, shot the driver dead in less than a minute.
Authorities identified the officer as 28-year-old Alan Horujko, who has been with Ohio State University police since 2015.
The injured included a mix of academic faculty, maintenance staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.
Campus police say that CCTV cameras filmed the suspect arriving on campus alone, indicating that he did not have an accomplice aiding him during the attack.
The college had warned students in a tweet to “Run Hide Fight”, warning there was an “active shooter”, though authorities later said the attacker did not use a firearm.
Hours later, police declared the scene “secure”, lifting the shelter-in-place order and canceling classes for the remainder of the day.
Columbus Police sent a SWAT team, dog units, negotiators and a helicopter to the scene.
Federal officials from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded.
Public school districts near to Ohio State placed their students on lockdown during November 28 alert.
The Ohio State attack came just as students were resuming classes following the Thanksgiving week-end, and after the university’s American football team defeated rival Michigan in a match that drew over 100,000 people to the Columbus campus on November 26.