Four individuals who took action to stop a suspect as he went on a stabbing rampage on the UC Merced campus were recognized with a standing ovation on the floor of the California State Assembly.
The four men were congratulated for their actions that helped save lives when a student started stabbing people on the campus.
On Nov. 4, 2015, UC Merced freshman Faisal Mohammad, 18, of Santa Clara stabbed four people on the campus before he was shot and killed by UC Merced Police Officer Olaf Lopez.
Investigators found a two-page document written by Mohammad that detailed a large-scale attack in retaliation for his being kicked out of a study group.
Mohammad’s manifesto listed students he planned on targeting and laid out a blueprint of how the attack would occur. His first step was to tie the students to their desks using zip ties. His script also included making a phony distress call that would lure in at least one police officer. He planned on attacking the officer and using the gun to continue his rampage.
The attack began around 8 a.m. Nov. 4 in a second story classroom in the Classroom and Office Building. Mohammad entered the classroom armed with an 8 to 10 inch-long hunting knife and slashed the throat of a male student that was one of the students on his list. In the classroom student Tyler Patton helped protect some of his classmates by picking up a chair and using it to keep Mohammad at bay.
From that moment, Mohammad’s plans began to unravel, when construction worker Byron Price heard the commotion and entered the classroom. Mohammad turned his attention on Price, stabbing him in his side before fleeing the classroom.
Before Mohammad fled from the classroom student Brady Amaral sounded the alarm and cleared the hallways and areas around the classroom.
Mohammad ran down the stairs and slashed another male student outside. He then ran up behind a female staff member at the university and stabbed her multiple times.
Officer Lopez and Officer Kevin Warkentin had been dispatched to another call for service at the Library Building when they received a radio transmission reporting the stabbing and a description of the suspect. Upon scanning the common area outside the Library, Lopez saw Mohammad stabbing the staff member outside the building.
The two officers pursued Mohammad and caught up to him on the bridge just west of the Library. The officers yelled for Mohammad to stop. Mohammad turned toward the officers with the large knife in his right hand. He was standing about 10 feet away and refused to comply with the orders to drop the knife and get onto the ground. Mohammad began advancing on the officers and lunged at Lopez with the knife. Lopez shot Mohammad twice, with the second shot proving to be fatal.
“Without regard for their personal safety, this incredible group of people stood up for their friends, their community, and – in many ways – for all of us,” said Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced).
“This incredible group of people made the difference that day,” continued Gray. “Thank you for your strength, your courage, and your example. You embody what it means to be strong — UC Merced Bobcat Strong.”
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke joined the group at the Capitol and presented each individual with a certificate in honor of their actions.
“I really think God sent down four angels to protect the community of that college,” said Warnke. “Because of the interaction with these four individuals, it disrupted a terrible, terrible plan. The right thing happened because of these four people.”