FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Taking one step at a time, students returned to UC Merced Friday, holding signs and even holding each other.
Strangers turned into friends on the Scholars Lane Bridge, where the attacker, and former classmate, was shot and killed by campus police after stabbing four people. "I'm sad that we had someone slip through the cracks of our community that we couldn't help," said Patrick Woodbury, UC Merced student.
Student leaders at UC Merced came out early to take back their bridge and show they were "Bobcat strong". They also offered a hand to cross the bridge together. "The bridge plays a critical role, and knowing that this tragedy ended on the bridge means that people are wanting to figure out how we reclaim that space and how the bridge continues to become that iconic part of the campus culture and rituals," said Charles Nies, Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs.
Nies said the students have banded together from the time the attack unfolded in the classroom, to helping others cope.
At the classroom and office building where the attacks took place, class resumed. One family from the bay area took a tour around campus and was not deterred by the violence. "We were aware of it. The unfortunate aspect of it is that it's happening everywhere and you can't stop life," said Kathryn Mitchell, prospective student's mother.
Leaders said they'll continue to support the 6,000 students on campus as they try to return to a new normal. "We're going to grieve together, we're going to love together and we're going to heal together," said Domonique Jones, UC Merced student body president.
Students said while it may take time to heal, they know together as a community they'll rise about the tragedy.