Cal State Fullerton stabbing: Killer left backpack with wigs, knife and zip ties, police say

Scene of Cal State Fullerton stabbing
Authorities investigate the scene of a stabbing at the Cal State Fullerton campus on Monday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A man suspected of fatally stabbing a Cal State Fullerton employee in a campus parking lot may have been trying to kidnap him based on evidence found in a backpack left at the scene, authorities said Tuesday.

The backpack found underneath 57-year-old Steven Shek Keung Chan’s vehicle had zip ties, wigs, a knife, materials that could help someone disguise themselves and an incendiary device described as “something capable of starting a fire,” said Fullerton police Lt. Jon Radus.

“Investigators believe that Chan was specifically targeted in the attack,” Radus wrote in a news release. “Investigators also believe that the suspect was injured during the attack and he may have lacerations to one or both of his hands.”


The investigation into the stabbing began about 8:30 a.m. Monday. Officers responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon in the lot near the College Park building found Chan, of Hacienda Heights, inside a silver Infiniti, severely wounded.

Chan was bleeding from his head and had been stabbed multiple times. Paramedics performed lifesaving measures, but Chan died at the scene, Radus said.

The assailant, a man in his mid-20s with black hair, was last seen running near Langsdorf Drive and Nutwood Avenue after the stabbing. Authorities combed the area with the help of Orange County Sheriff’s Department bloodhounds but could not locate him.

On Tuesday, investigators released surveillance video of the attacker running from the scene and photos of a car they think is linked to the suspect.

Investigators think the man fled in a black four-door BMW sedan, possibly an X6 model, with black wheels and dark tinted windows that was parked in a nearby lot east of the 57 Freeway. Images of the vehicle were taken from security footage, Radus said.

Officials say they hope the video will lead them to Chan’s attacker.

Chan served as Cal State Fullerton’s director of budget and finance and student services for university extended education from 2009 until he retired in 2017. He returned to the campus in early 2019 to work as a special consultant.


“I did not have the honor of knowing Steven personally or working with him directly, but over the past few hours, in providing a shoulder to lean on for those who were close to him, it is clear that he was beloved for his commitment to and passion for both Cal State Fullerton and our Titan Family,” Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee said in a letter to the campus community.

Authorities have not identified a possible motive in the attack.

The stabbing frightened many on the campus on what was the first day of the university’s academic year. Cal State Fullerton employees peered at the scene as they carried their lunches back to the College Park office from restaurants across the street.

Lydia Jimenez, a 72-year-old a medical assistant, arrived at her office building across from the parking lot just as police pulled up. She told her colleagues to stay indoors.

“I told them, ‘There’s somebody dead out there,’” she said.

She didn’t leave her office building for hours, fearing that the assailant could still be nearby.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Fullerton Police Det. Victoria Chandler at (714) 738-6754. Anonymous tips can be directed to Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.