As authorities worked to establish a motive for the 18-year-old college freshman who stabbed four people on a California campus Wednesday, more disturbing details emerged about the attacker.
Faisal Mohammad, who was killed by University of California Merced police, was described by at least one witness as smiling as he slashed at victims, called a loner by a fellow dorm resident and drew praise Thursday from a Twitter account associated with ISIS, which just last week released a series of videos calling for lone wolf stabbing attacks.
“May Allah accept him,” read a tweet in Arabic from a Twitter account that terrorism experts say has carried previous ISIS propaganda, just minutes after Mohammad’s name was divulged by campus authorities.
Investigators revealed more information in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said that personal animosities, not a political agenda, motivated the 18-year-old. LeLand said Mohammad was a student in the class he attacked Wednesday, but authorities didn’t know if he targeted someone in particular.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke added that a bomb squad recovered Mohammad’s backpack, which contained items including petroleum jelly. He described the substance as a “poor man’s C-4,” a military-grade explosive.
Warnke said there was also a handwritten list of items to put in the backpack, and officials recovered them all except for scissors.
Warnke added that there was nothing to indicate Mohammad would lash out violently.
“He had a smile on his face, he was having fun,” a construction worker who helped stop the attacker told CBS 47.
A suitemate said Mohammad “didn’t talk much.” Speaking to KFSN, Andrew Velasquez said he never saw the stabber walking to class with anyone, adding, “Every time I would try and say something he would just ignore it.”
Campus police shot and killed Mohammad, a computer science & engineering major who graduated from Wilcox High School in Santa Clara last June. Police detonated his backpack and are testing a substance inside, KGO reports.