The Latest: 2 victims stabbed inside classroom, 2 outdoors

AP News
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Posted: Nov 04, 2015 7:57 PM
The Latest: 2 victims stabbed inside classroom, 2 outdoors

MERCED, Calif. (AP) — The latest on the stabbings on the University of California, Merced, campus (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

Authorities say a building contractor likely saved the life of a UC Merced student who was the first victim of the stabbing attack that has shaken the California campus.

Merced County Sheriff-Coroner Vern Warnke said the contractor rushed into a classroom where he thought he heard fighting and intervened as one male student was stabbing another.

Warnke says the contractor himself was wounded, but that his actions probably prevented the student victim from being injured more seriously.

He says the alleged assailant fled down two flights of stairs and outside, where he stabbed a female student and a female staff member.

He says the suspect was shot and killed by police about 35 or 40 yards away from the Classroom and Office Building.

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This item has been corrected to show that four people were stabbed.

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4:10 p.m.

Merced County's sheriff says the UC Merced student suspected of stabbing four people before he was shot and killed by police has been tentatively identified but that his name is not being released because authorities have not been able to reach his family.

Sheriff-Coroner Vern Warnke said during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that the weapon used in the stabbings was a hunting knife between 8 and 10 inches long.

Campus Police Chief Albert Vasquez says the attack started inside a classroom and that more victims were wounded as the armed suspect fled.

Vasquez says two campus police officers saw the suspect outside and shot him as he turned toward them.

Vasquez says the student was a California resident living in an on-campus dorm.

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3:21 p.m.

The chancellor of the University of California, Merced says the stabbings of four people by a student are a troubling act of violence that has left the rural campus shaken.

Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a message to the UC Merced community Wednesday she is nonetheless thankful that wounds suffered by the stabbing victims do not appear to be life-threatening.

The suspected assailant was shot and killed by campus police. He only has been identified as a male student at the university.

Leland says that despite the mass shootings on college campuses that have prompted schools to create emergency plans like the one activated at UC Merced after the stabbings, having an attack hit so close to home was shocking.

She says the campus is expected to reopen on Friday.

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This item has been corrected to show that four people were stabbed. Campus officials reported earlier in the day that five people were stabbed.

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2:05 p.m.

Campus officials now say four people, not five, were stabbed at the University of California, Merced.

The university said on its verified Twitter account Wednesday that two students, one staff member and a vendor were wounded but were expected to recover. They said earlier in the day that five people were stabbed.

The attacker, a male student, was shot and killed by police.

Campus officials also said the rural campus would be closed Thursday and urged the community to seek counseling services that were available.

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1:25 p.m.

An 18-year-old student at the University of California, Merced, praised the campus for responding to a stabbing that injured five people.

Alexander Raj says he was in his dorm when he got a text at 8:02 a.m. Wednesday about a stabbing in a building that holds both classrooms and offices. He says he stayed in his room until getting a text at 9:33 a.m. that said the threat was over and classes were canceled.

Campus officials said the attacker was a male student and was shot and killed by police. Two victims were airlifted to hospitals, but their conditions weren't immediately known. Officials say three others had injuries minor enough for treatment on campus.

He says he still felt safe at school and that "campus police did a great job."

The campus, surrounded largely by farmland, was mostly deserted Wednesday afternoon.

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12:20 p.m.

Officials say an attacker who stabbed five people at the University of California, Merced, before being shot and killed by police was a male student.

University spokesman James Leonard said the identity of the assailant hasn't been confirmed. Leonard says campus officials are working to establish a timeline of events that unfolded Wednesday morning.

Two victims were airlifted to hospitals, but their conditions weren't immediately known. Officials say three others had injuries minor enough for treatment on campus.

Phil Coba, a student government representative, says he has been told by numerous students that the stabbings started inside a classroom and continued outside before campus police shot and killed the attacker.

Coba says dining halls are providing free food to students and staff members who were on campus during the attack.

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10:50 a.m.

A campus official says the five people stabbed at the University of California, Merced, were conscious when paramedics reached them.

Assistant Vice Chancellor Patti Waid said classes were just getting underway at 8:05 a.m. PST Wednesday when the attack happened outside a building that holds both classrooms and offices.

Waid says three of the victims had injuries that were minor enough for them to be treated on campus. The two others were taken to hospitals by helicopter, but their conditions weren't immediately known.

Campus police shot and killed the assailant.

Authorities said some of the victims are students, but it's unclear how many.

A lockdown at the university has been lifted, but classes have been canceled for the day.

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This item has been corrected to show that the last name of a UC Merced assistant vice chancellor is Waid, not Wald.

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10:15 a.m.

University of California, Merced, student Alex Lopez says there was an eerie, unsettled atmosphere on campus in the immediate aftermath of a stabbing that left five people injured.

Authorities say the assailant was shot and killed Wednesday. Two of the victims were taken by helicopter to hospitals, but their conditions weren't immediately known.

Lopez said he was listening to a podcast on his way to class when there was a break in the talking around him and he heard a gunshot.

He said students gathered in groups to talk about what was happening, and many were left feeling frightened and uncertain. Lopez uploaded video to Instagram showing an ambulance and police vehicle racing down the street.

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9:40 a.m.

Authorities say a suspect stabbed five people on a university campus in central California before police shot and killed him.

University of California, Merced, spokeswoman Lorena Anderson said Wednesday that two of the victims were taken by helicopter to hospitals for treatment. She said the three other victims were treated locally.

Anderson says the school remains on lockdown and classes have been canceled for the day.

Officials say the stabbings occurred shortly before 8 a.m.

The rural school is about 120 miles south of Sacramento.