The flag, which was found alongside a handwritten manifesto with detailed instructions to behead students and multiple reminders to “praise Allah,” suggests that the 18-year-old computer science student had jihadi motivations, but investigators have said there has been no indication that he had any terrorist ties.
Mohammed burst in to a classroom and began slashing and stabbing people with an 8-inch hunting knife. He injured four people — two students, a university employee and a construction worker — before he was shot and killed by police. All four victims are expected to recover.
Mohammad claimed in his manifesto that he was angry over being kicked out of a study group.
In their first public comment since the incident, Mohammad’s family members expressed their “deepest sympathy” to the victims injured in the attack.
In an email sent by an attorney, Daniel Mayfield, to California media outlets, the Santa Clara family thanks friends for their support during their time of grief.
“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,” the letter reads.
New details that emerged in the investigation over the weekend have led local police to hand control of the criminal probe over to campus police and the FBI, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke confirmed.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss the information, but the developments on Saturday caused us to turn that over to [UC Merced] and the FBI will assist them,” Sheriff Warnke said, the Merced Sun-Star reported.
But an unnamed law enforcement official told the Sun-Star that the information included questions about the manner in which Mohammad was dressed during the Nov. 4 attack and the types of websites he may have visited in the weeks and days before.
The officials also said investigators found the Islamic State flag among his belongings, though the significance of the item is still under investigation.
On Friday, Sheriff Warnke said that the two-page manifesto found in Mohammad’s pocket indicated the attack was motivated by revenge and that there was nothing to suggest that he was inspired by jihadi terrorists.
He told reporters Thursday “there is nothing to indicate this was anything other than a teenage boy who got upset with fellow classmates.”