MERCED, Calif. — A Muslim student who carried out a knife attack this week at the Merced campus of the University of California left behind a manifesto that praised Allah, officials state, but reject assertions that the student’s religion was a factor in the crime.
Faisal Mohammad, 18, a freshman at the university, entered one of the classroom and office buildings on campus on Wednesday 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.
“When the suspect turned toward the officer, an officer-involved shooting occurred and the suspect succumbed to his injuries,” UC Merced Police Chief Al Vasquez told CNN.
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. He even writes his own script about how he wanted to do it, and what he’ll say when he calls the police department.”
According to reports, Mohammad had originally planned to handcuff students to their desks, and then ambush a responding officer to obtain his gun so that he could carry out an armed rampage. He planned to rub petroleum jelly on the floor prior to calling the police and proclaim, “There’s a man in here acting crazy; he’s got a pocket knife! Oh my gosh, he’s coming for me!”
When asked if the manifesto made references to Allah, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke acknowledged that it did, but 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.”
“You’ve got to remember there are a lot of Muslim faith [people] that are very kind, gentle, loving people and to have one person do this, you can’t group that whole section of folks into that,” he stated. “It’s just not right.”
Warnke said that he believes from the manifesto that Mohammad was solely upset that he had been kicked out of a study group and sought to take vengeance upon those who had hurt him.
The student’s backpack was found to be filled with zip-tie handcuffs, a night-vision scope, a safety hammer and duct tape—the items mentioned in his detailed plan on how he would carry out the attack.