The family of the 18-year-old UC Merced student who stabbed four people before being shot and killed by campus police expressed their sympathy Tuesday for the victims and said they were grieving the loss of their son.
In their first public statement since the Nov. 4 attack, the family of Faisal Mohammad said they wished to thank friends who provided “their support in this time of grief.”
“We also want to express our deepest sympathy to the victims on campus at UC Merced.”
“Faisal was a kind and respectful young man. He was always quiet and humble and excelled in school and academics. His teachers and friends always spoke well of him.”
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The statement was released by Daniel Mayfield, an attorney who said he was representing the Santa Clara family pro bono. Mayfield said he did not know the Mohammad family before the attack, but had previously worked with members of the area’s Muslim community and had been recommended to them.
He declined to provide identifying information about the family.
Mohammad, a freshman computer science and engineering student, wounded four people at UC Merced in an attack that law enforcement authorities said was fueled by his anger over having been kicked out of a study group. The teenager, who had turned 18 just 10 days before the attack, was found to be carrying a two-page handwritten note that spelled out his plan to take students hostage, summon campus police and steal an officer’s firearm, which he then planned to use to kill students at a dormitory.
His plan was disrupted when a construction worker heard screams coming from a second-floor classroom, where Mohammad had stabbed one student, and he barged in. Wielding a 10-inch knife, Mohammad stabbed the 31-year-old man before fleeing the classroom. He stabbed a male student and a female university employee before he ran to a bridge, where he was shot and killed by campus police.
Mayfield said the family, which includes Mohammad’s parents and two sisters, is grief-stricken and has asked for privacy.
“They’re devastated. They’re paralyzed,” he said in a phone interview. “There’s no other term for it. Regardless of what the circumstances are, the losing of a child has got to be the hardest thing any parent can go through.”
Mayfield said Mohammad’s parents were immigrants from Pakistan. The teen and his two sisters, one older and one younger, were all born in the United States.
“At a time like this,” the statement said, “our family, like any family, requests privacy. Please allow us to grieve and remember our son, brother, cousin and friend in private.”