Faisal Mohammed, the 18-year-old UC Merced student who was involved in a stabbing attack against four of his co-students, was found to be in possession of a printout of an ISIS flag, a FOX News report says, citing a report by the Merced Sun-Star who reported about it on Tuesday.
According to the report, apart from the ISIS flag, Faisal was also found to be in possession of a handwritten manifesto that clearly talked about how he planned to behead one of his co-students. In spite of these revelations, the investigating authorities are still of the belief the attack was not religiously motivated, the report alleges.
In the attack that took place last Wednesday, Faisal stabbed four people — including two students, one staff member, and a construction worker who tried to stop the attack. Faisal took the decision to commit the attack after he was allegedly booted out of a study group, Merced County sheriff Vern Warnke confirms. None of Faisal’s victims died in the attack. Faisal himself, however, was shot dead by a campus police officer before he could injure more people.
Police have described Faisal Mohammed as a loner who was acting the way he did after a disagreement he had with a study group he was part of. After being booted out of the group, he was so incensed, Faisal charted out a plan to kill his own classmates. The four-page manifesto found with him had entries that revealed his sinister intentions. Authorities are now investigating if there is something more to the attack than just a rejection by his classmates — especially after the discovery of the ISIS flag and the clearly written manifesto.
According to Patrick Dunleavy, a former deputy inspector general with the New York State Police Criminal Intelligence Unit, Faisal’s character “fits exactly with what ISIS is looking for, individuals to go and do an act of terrorism unilaterally.”
He further adds,
“The fact that he (Faisal) may have been kicked out of a study group does not preclude this being a lone wolf act. It only needs some sort of trigger, which could be totally unrelated to Islam, that causes him to act on his rage and attribute it to Allah.”
“ISIS is not looking for a few good men; one crazy will do,” Dunleavy said. “This is what a lone wolf looks like.”
Patrick is also an author who wrote the 2011 book The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection.
Meanwhile, a law enforcement official who chose to remain unidentified told the Merced Sun-Star that they have handed over control of the case to the FBI who are now investigating the websites Faisal visited prior to the days leading to the attack. In the meantime, investigating officers say they have managed to unearth “new information” regarding Mohammed on Saturday.
While it sounds far-fetched to link the UC Merced stabbing attack to the ISIS, it is essential that officers cover that angle as well. The ISIS is known to lure radicalized youth from the U.S. to participate in the civil war underway in the Middle East right now. Of late, they have also started to inspire the youth to carry out attacks within the United States by staying within the country.
Meanwhile, according to a report by Mercury News, the family members of Faisal Mohammed expressed in an emailed statement their “deepest sympathy” to the victims of the attack.
“The family of Faisal Mohammad wishes to thank their friends for their support in this time of grief. We also want to express our deepest sympathy to the victims on campus at UC Merced,” the statement read.
The two students who were injured in the attack have been released from the hospital. The other two people injured in the attack was one female staff member and a 31-year-old construction worker. Only the female staffer remains hospitalized now.