UC Merced attacker’s family voices sympathy for victims in first comments since rampage

Nearly one week after an 18-year-old UC Merced student stabbed four people before he was shot and killed by university police, his family expressed sympathy for the victims, according to a statement released Tuesday.

The family of Faisal Mohammad, a freshman from Santa Clara studying computer science and engineering, described him as “quiet and humble,” according to the brief comments issued by the family’s San Jose-based attorney, Daniel Mayfield.

“Faisal was a kind and respectful young man,” the family said after expressing gratitude for the support of friends. “His teachers and friends always spoke well of him.”

On Nov. 4, Mohammad began the rampage shortly before 8 a.m. in a classroom at the San Joaquin Valley campus.

According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, Mohammad’s attack was an act of retaliation over being kicked out of a study group.


In a two-page, handwritten manifesto found in his pocket, Mohammad outlined a script for the attack, including tying up his classmates with zip-tie handcuffs and using petroleum jelly to trip those who entered during the attack.

The FBI said in a statement Tuesday evening that the agency normally provides intelligence to local law enforcement about threats -- but the agency did not have “derogatory information” about Mohammad nor was he the subject of any FBI investigation. The FBI said it is investigating the attack and is trying to fully assess Mohammad’s motives.

Warnke, the sheriff, said that in the classroom -- which had about 15 students -- Mohammad first stabbed a male student’s throat with a knife that measured about 10 inches

A contractor who was completing a job near the classroom, Byron Price, entered the classroom after he heard what sounded like a brawl.

After walking in, Price said he was suddenly attacked and fell toward the ground. He was slashed in the waist.

Mohammad fled, knifing another male student before attacking a university employee multiple times, authorities said. Two police officers chased him and, about 15 minutes after the attacks began, he was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

Warnke said the attack was not believed to be an act of terrorism.

“There is still nothing to indicate anything, and I mean anything, that this is anything other than a teenage boy who got upset with fellow classmates and took it to the extreme,” he said.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.


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