Crime & Justice

Islamic State inspired UC Merced student in stabbings, FBI says

The UC Merced campus is seen Monday, April 20, 2009.
The UC Merced campus is seen Monday, April 20, 2009.
Ben Margot/AP

A University of California, Merced student who went on a campus stabbing rampage that wounded four people before he was shot down by a campus police officer was inspired by Islamic State but acted alone, the FBI said Thursday.

Faisal Mohammad, 18, appears to have become self-radicalized, drawing his inspiration from terrorist propaganda that he found online, authorities said. The freshman studying at UC Merced burst into a classroom on Nov. 4, slashing four over a dispute about a study group.

"Every indication is that Mohammad acted on his own," Gina Swankie, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Sacramento field office, said in a statement. "It may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the U.C. Merced Campus."

Authorities say Mohammad, a freshman from Santa Clara, California, planned the attack for at least a week. Investigators say they found Islamic State propaganda on his laptop, and evidence that he had visited the terrorist group's website and other extremist online sites.

During the rampage, Mohammad carried a backpack containing a two-page, hand-written plan, saying that he intended to take hostages while killing students and police officers, the FBI investigators said.

He also had a photocopy of an Islamic State flag and a list of items he would need for the attack — zip ties, glass breakers and a knife. But none of Mohammad's belongings indicate he was working with anyone or directed by a terrorist group, the FBI said.