MERCED, Calif. — A Muslim student who carried out a knife attack last week at the Merced campus of the University of California carried a printout of the Islamic State flag and, according to reports, was also on the FBI watch list.
As previously reported, Faisal Mohammad, 18, a freshman at the university, entered one of the classroom and office buildings on campus on Nov. 4 at approximately 8 a.m. and began stabbing another student with a hunting knife. Byron Price, a construction worker who observed the altercation, stepped in to help, but was soon stabbed himself.
He told the Merced Sun-Star that Mohammad was smiling as he carried out the attack, but also “looked scared.”
“He also looked like he was having fun,” Price said. “His eyes, I could see fear in his eyes. He was smiling.”
Mohammad then fled the room and stabbed a staff member and another student before being chased by police, who shot him to death moments later.
As an autopsy was performed on Mohammad’s body, medical examiners found a two-page document in his pocket that appeared to be a manifesto—a detailed plan that, according to police, “gives a blow by blow, from start to finish, about where he wanted to go and who he wanted to kill.”
“No. 27 was to ‘make sure people are tied down,’ No. 28 was ‘sit down and praise Allah,’” Sheriff Vern Warnke told Fox News. “I remember seeing four or five times, scribbled on the side of the two-page manifesto, where he wrote something like ‘praise Allah.’”
He also recalled a notation about “wanting to cut someone’s head off and kill two people with one bullet, and he planned to shoot the police.”
But Warnke rejected any suggestion that Mohammad’s Muslim faith had anything to do with his actions.
“His belief was through the Muslim faith, but there’s nothing to indicate anything other than that,” Warnke said. “It’d be like a Christian referring to the Lord Jesus.”
But now, new reports have surfaced that a printout of the Islamic State flag was found among Mohammad’s belongings. His case has subsequently been turned over to the FBI.
“I met with the FBI Saturday night and turned over copies of all evidence we’ve collected to that agency and the UC Merced police department,” Warnke told reporters, without providing further detail. “As far as any further investigation into any outside influence, the FBI will be handling that from now on.”
One law enforcement official told the Merced Sun-Star on the condition of anonymity that there are questions about the clothing that Mohammad was wearing that day, as well as the websites that he visited in the days leading to the attack.
“From the information I have gathered, the suspect was indeed not only on the FBI’s terrorist watch list but he was also on a national watch list and had been one of the topics of discussion at a recent FBI briefing to Merced County law enforcement leaders,” also reports Matthew Gonzales of the Merced County News.