UC Merced still healing one year after stabbing rocked campus

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Friday marked the one year anniversary since a stabbing at UC Merced left one dead and four injured. The school said they're now making more improvements and focusing more on both awareness and community.

Many UC Merced students still can't believe it happened, but school officials said they've been working to improve safety on the campus and several students said they've learned a valuable lesson.

"The campus, as well as the surrounding community, experienced something that shattered a little bit of our sense of innocence," UC Merced Vice Chancellor Charles Nies said.

On November 4, 2015, 18-year-old Faisal Mohammad entered a morning class and stabbed four people, all who survived. Campus officers chased Mohammad until he was shot and killed on Scholars Lane Bridge. Students said they remember the tragedy like it was yesterday and are still in shock that a violent stabbing happened in their own school halls.

"I never thought that anything was going to happen at this campus, to be honest," student Eden Hailu exclaimed. "UC Merced is such a small and new campus."

UC Merced leaders said, since the attack, they've been focusing more on the community. Neis said they've also expanded their counseling services by hiring two more licensed counselors and making sure more of the school's information is in several other languages.

"All of that is work we've been doing over the past year to make sure we're increasing the awareness of resources around the campus," Neis explained.

The campus police department also said they're working to notify the campus about the classes and information available to students, and with more than $1 million now aimed at public safety for university thanks to a bill from Assemblyman Adam Gray, the department is hoping to do more."

"Things we're looking for are evacuation chairs for high rise building where elevators don't work," UC Merced interim Police Chief Chou Her said. "And we can use those with disabilities to get down on stairs. We're looking at AED's, automated external defibrillators.

Action News also spoke to Sarah Anderson, the sister of Danielle Quiroga who was a victim of the attack. A year later, she said her sister is, "Still actively recovering from her injuries that she sustained and that she's back to work at the UC Merced campus as a student adviser."

We also spoke to the Mohammad family's attorney who said, "They offer their sympathy and condolence to the victims." And, "That they are still seeking answers because they don't have any. The family has asked for copies of the investigation reports and have been denied those things."

For students at the campus, they said some things will never be the same - such as the way they look the bridge where a fellow student died - but they say the few good things that came out of such a horrible tragedy is the way they look at each other.

"I definitely connect with people more," student Silvia Vargas said. "I appreciate my roommates more."

The students say there's a stronger sense of Bobcat pride.

"We're all Bobcats and we're a family," student Brenda Yu said.

The Mohammad family's attorney said their only alternative at this point is to sue the FBI to get copies of the investigation.
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