Forget Merced Shooter’s Name; Check Out His Motive

An 18-year-old freshman named Faisal Mohammad who stabbed four people Wednesday on the campus of the University of California in Merced was not, as some probably imagine from his name, a terrorist. He was a kid who was ticked off because classmates kicked him out of a study group.

Shortly after his rampage, “with a smile on his face,” one victim has been quoted as saying, Mohammad was killed by police.

““I looked the guy square in the eyes. He looked like he was having fun. I also saw fear,” said Byron Price, construction worker who, while finishing a project in the building, heard a racket and entered the classroom where Mohammad was in action. “He didn’t know what he was doing,” Price told The Los Angeles Times. “If he wanted to, he could have killed me,” Price added.

Using what police described as a ten-inch knife, Mohammad stabbed two students and a female university staff member, in addition to Price, who was stabbed in the waist, before fleeing — something that was not in his original plan, according to a two-page note police found in his backpack. His detailed agenda included squirting petroleum jelly on the floor to make it slippery so he could attack more people. He also intended to steal a police officer’s weapon so he could do further harm somewhere else on the campus.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, speaking at a press conference, said there is no reason to think Mohammad viewed himself as a terrorist.

“There is still nothing to indicate anything, and I mean anything, that this is anything other than a teenage boy who got upset with fellow classmates and took it to the extreme,” he said.

The sheriff’s department is investigating the shooting — apparently of a single shot — that killed Mohammad. While that department undoubtedly has said so internally, they’ve made no comment on the fact that now knives, as well as guns, are likely to start popping up as the ‘weapon of choice’ by on-campus shooters.

Somewhat surprisingly, the web site of the National Rife Association hadn’t, by late Thursday evening, even mentioned the Merced incident — one not involving, an attacker, with a gun.