Public Affairs Specialist Gina Swankie
March 17, 2016
Update on Investigation at University of California, Merced
On the morning of November 4, 2015, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fresno Area Joint Terrorism Task Force, responded to a multiple stabbing incident at the University of California, Merced campus. The subject, Faisal Mohammad, 18, had entered a classroom where he stabbed a fellow student. He proceeded to attack three other people as he fled the classroom and moved across the campus. Mohammad was shot and killed by a UC Merced police officer at the scene.
The FBI immediately opened an investigation to determine the nature of the incident, conducting extensive interviews and thoroughly examining Mohammad’s electronic media. Investigators developed information that he may have self-radicalized and drawn inspiration from terrorist propaganda. His laptop contained pro-ISIL propaganda, and he had visited ISIL and other extremist websites in the weeks prior to his attack. The FBI uncovered information that indicated Mohammad began his preparations for the attack at least one week prior to the assault. During this investigation no information has been developed that Mohammad was working with, or directed by, anyone in conducting this attack.
At the time of the stabbings, Mohammad was carrying a backpack which contained a two-page, hand-written plan detailing his intentions to include taking hostages and killing students and police officers. Investigators also found a photocopy of an ISIL flag and a list of items he thought he would need for an attack such as zip ties, glass breaker, and a knife among his belongings.
After an extensive investigation of all available evidence, no ties to co-conspirators or foreign terrorist organizations have been found. Every indication is that Mohammad acted on his own; however, it may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the UC Merced campus.