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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
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Suspect Identified in |UC Merced Stabbings

(CN) - University officials have identified student Faisal Mohammad as the suspect who stabbed four people at UC Merced before being fatally shot by university police on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old freshman began his attack around 8 a.m. in a classroom on the second floor of the Classroom and Office Building at the small university located in the San Joaquin Valley in California.

The campus remained closed on Thursday as the investigation the incident continued, the university said.

Two students, one staff member and a construction worker were stabbed, but none of the victims' injuries were be life-threatening.

As of Thursday morning, one student remained hospitalized but is expected to recover. The staff member who was stabbed is recovering from a successful surgery to repair a collapsed lung. The other student and the construction worker were treated and released, according to the university.

After allegedly stabbing the four victims, the suspect fled the scene and was pursued by campus police before being shot on a bridge about 40 yards away from the building where the first attack took place, according to authorities.

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said she was thankful how quickly the incident was brought under control by campus police and that all of the victims are recovering.

"Events like this happen elsewhere, but not at UC Merced, which may be still small in student body but large in its sense of community - yet, it has happened," Leland said.

Leland said she is concerned for the victims' full recovery but also "for the many witnesses and other members of the campus community who have been deeply traumatized by this event and are receiving counseling."

The university will be offering counseling services in the days and weeks ahead, she said.

Mohammad was a Computer Science & Engineering major from Santa Clara.

Authorities said he used a knife with a 10-inch blade. He first attacked a student in the classroom and then stabbed the construction worker on the way out of the classroom door, according to authorities.

Mohammad allegedly ran down a flight of stairs and then attacked a student and university staff member outside.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said that the man stabbed in the doorway - construction worker Byron Price - was a hero.

"The contract worker actually went in thinking it was a student fight, and ended up stumbling onto the stabbing in progress. I think that he, through his actions, saved the first student's life," Warnke said.

Warnke said authorities are still "trying to track down a motive."

UC Merced opened in September 2005 as the 10th and newest campus in the University of California system. Approximately 6,600 students attend classes on the Merced campus.

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