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UC Merced Stabbing Leaves Four Injured, Suspect Dead

UPDATED: 5:56 PM - FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on what law enforcement officials know about the suspect.

“Here’s what we know about the suspect: He’s a male student, a California resident but he’s not from Merced. He lived in the dorms. The knife was a hunting style knife, the blade was about 10 inches long. Right now they’re having extensive interviews with all of the students involved, people who witnessed the tragic event. They have no idea as to any motives, or any resentment. They don’t know if the suspect knew the intended target, or if it was something that was planned. They don’t know any reason as to why the suspect would do what he did.”

UPDATED: 4:06 PM - Four people were injured today in an on-campus stabbing at the University of California Merced. According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, the suspect was shot by campus police and is dead. He is described as a male student in his early 20's.  

The victims include two students, a staff member and an outside vendor. Two of the victims sustained serious injuries and were flown to a nearby hospital. The others were treated on the UC Merced campus. The injuries are not thought to be life threatening. Earlier reports from law enforcement and campus officials indicated that there were five stabbing victims, including four students. 

"If the campus police officer that got involved with this had been anywhere else and not as close I believe that we would have a lot more tragedies and even some deaths pertaining to this." - Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke

Warnke says the situation could have been much worse if not for the quick actions of a UC Merced campus police officer.  

Vern Warnke: "If the campus police officer that got involved with this had been anywhere else and not as close I believe that we would have a lot more tragedies and even some deaths pertaining to this."

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland says the stabbing started inside a classroom and then continued outside where the suspect was shot and killed. Freshman Norma Ambriz was in her 7:30 a.m. chemistry class when the stabbing happened nearby. 

Ambriz: "When we were in class we did hear a bit of a ruckus outside of our classroom. There were people yelling but we were just thinking someone was fighting someone outside. One of our deans came inside and told us to evacuate the building."

She says the stabbing has rocked the normally quiet campus community. 

Ambriz: "I come from the Bay Area, so coming over here where it's pretty isolated, this is such a calm neighborhood. Especially this community. We're always here for each other and the fact that something like this has happened... we don't even need the use of security sometimes. But the fact that this did happen on our university, it has frightened all of us. No one wants to go outside."

Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says the motive behind the stabbing is not yet known.

Warnke says a motive for the stabbing is not yet known. ​

Verne Warnke: "We don't know a motive yet, we're digging further into that, we're going to find out the suspect, the student's background."

University officials have announced the campus will remain closed through Thursday. Classes and other on-campus events have been canceled. Students who live in the Tuolumne Hall dorm are being relocated to another facility due to an expanded crime scene. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of KVPR / Valley Public Radio. He has led the station through major programming changes, the launch of KVPR Classical and the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado (2019), and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting (2022).
Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.