California college attacker inspired by ISIS, acted alone: FBI

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2016 8:44 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A teenager who injured four people in a stabbing spree on a California university campus before he was shot dead by police last year was inspired by the Islamic State militant group but acted alone, the FBI said on Thursday.

Faisal Mohammad, an 18-year-old freshman majoring in engineering and computer science, started his Nov. 4 attack in a classroom at the University of California Merced, slashing at victims with a hunting knife, authorities said.

The FBI said in a statement that Mohammad's laptop contained "pro-ISIL propaganda" and that he visited websites linked to the Islamic State as well as other extremist groups before the attack.

The FBI said Mohammad was carrying a backpack that included a photocopy of the Islamic State flag and a two-page handwritten note detailing his plans to take hostages as well as kill students and police.

All evidence indicated however that he acted alone in the attack and that he had no ties with any foreign organizations or groups, the FBI said.

Local authorities said at the time that the attack seemed personal in nature, as the document listed a specific target he planned to attack for removing him from a study group.

Mohammad intended to tie students up with plastic zip-tie handcuffs and wait for a police officer to enter by a door where petroleum jelly would be on the floor to make the entrance slippery. He would ambush and stab the officer, steal a gun and start shooting students, local authorities said.

Mohammad was a dormitory resident at UC Merced, according to officials at the campus of some 6,600 students in California's Central Valley, and he was from Santa Clara, 45 miles (70 km) southeast of San Francisco.

The attack sent two students, a university employee and a construction worker to the hospital with stab wounds, though none of their injuries were life-threatening.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)