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California University Stabbing Attack Was ISIS-Inspired, FBI Says

Faisal Mohammad, 18, visited ISIS websites before stabbing four people at the University of California Merced, but it appears he acted alone, the FBI said.

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A University of California, Merced student who injured four people in a campus stabbing spree was inspired by ISIS, the FBI announced on Thursday.

Faisal Mohammad, an 18-year-old freshman, stabbed two students, a staff member, and a contractor in November 2015. He was fatally shot by a campus police officer, and the victims ultimately recovered.

In the days after the attack, the local sheriff said Mohammad left a two-page manifesto that suggested his motive was that he had been kicked out of a study group. The FBI investigation continued, however, and on Thursday, officials said it appeared he had been inspired by ISIS.

According to the FBI, a photocopy of the ISIS flag was inside the backpack Mohammad had been carrying. The FBI also conducted interviews and reviewed his electronics.

"Investigators developed information that he may have self-radicalized and drawn inspiration from terrorist propaganda," the FBI said.

Authorities found no evidence that Mohammad had at any time been working with a terrorist group or an accomplice. But in the weeks before the attack, he visited ISIS and other extremist websites, and his laptop contained ISIS propaganda.

It appears he planned the attack for about a week before carrying it out, and the manifesto contained plans for how he hoped to take students and staff hostage, the FBI said.

"Every indication is that Mohammad acted on his own; however, it may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the UC Merced campus," the FBI said.

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a statement the end of the investigation would bring closure to the campus after four months.

"While I shared your desire for a quicker resolution, we are better served by law enforcement's completion of its investigation in due course," she said.

"I am proud of the way our campus community came together in the aftermath of this incident, and the kindness displayed by so many only reinforced what I already knew to be true about UC Merced. Now, we move to the task of further healing and taking care of the needs of our students, staff and faculty."

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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