UC Merced

Family of UC Merced attacker files lawsuit to prevent releasing his ‘manifesto’

The family of the 18-year-old UC Merced freshman who stabbed four people in 2015 has filed for a restraining order to prevent the release of his manifesto and related reports, according to documents filed in Alameda County Superior Court.

A computer science student from Santa Clara, Faisal Mohammad wielded a 10-inch knife on Nov. 4, 2015, before he was shot to death by a campus police officer, according to authorities.

A lawyer filed the restraining order against the University of California’s Board of Regents on May 30 on behalf of Wasim Mohammad, the younger Mohammad’s father. The document argues the release of those records would cause “great or irreparable harm,” invade the privacy of the Mohammad family and offers few benefits to the public interest.

“From his experience as an American Muslim, plaintiff reasonably believes that disclosure of the flag and notes will lead to harassment and discrimination against Muslims, falsely link the events to terrorist groups, and quite possibly even incite violent hate crimes,” the court filing says.

Authorities were preparing to release two police reports, a handwritten plan for the violence and a copy of an Isil flag printed from the internet on computer paper, which Mohammad reportedly carried with him during the attack. Isil is sometimes called Isis or the Islamic State.

Reached by phone on Monday, Mohammad’s attorney, Mark Hostetter, declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Board of Regents did not immediately provide a comment.

The Merced Sun-Star and several other news agencies filed public records requests for the reports and the related materials. A transparency law, Senate Bill 1421, this year opened up records previously not disclosed to media outlets related to officer-involved shootings.

Authorities have said the handwritten plan showed an elaborate, step-by-step attack on students in a morning classroom. The younger Mohammad planned to zip-tie other students to desks and smear petroleum jelly on the floor, which he apparently believed would cause responding officers to slip and fall, according to authorities.

He planned to take a gun from a fallen officer and shoot people inside student housing, investigators said.

The plan quickly fell apart when students fought back. Mohammad stabbed one male student inside the classroom around 8 a.m. and struggled as others used chairs to keep him at a distance. A construction worker in the building heard screams coming from the classroom and intervened, getting slashed himself near his waistline.

Mohammad then fled the building, stabbing another male student and a UC Merced employee before he was shot and killed by campus police Officer Olaf Lopez, investigators said.

The FBI has since determined Mohammad was self-radicalized, inspired by the Islamic State but not connected to organized terror groups.

Investigators have described Mohammad as a troubled, isolated young man who knew few people on campus.

The elder Mohammad spoke to the Merced Sun-Star in 2016. “We are very sorry for what happened,” he said. “At the same time, I would like to say, please, don’t make any judgment about Faisal. He spent his entire life to be a good citizen and a good son to the family. Unfortunately, he is not able to defend himself.”

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