Students, Faculty Hold Vigil for UC Merced Stabbing Victims

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MERCED --

For a campus scarred, a vigil to take back their pride on Friday evening and the 'Bobcat strong' paintings throughout campus mark a new beginning.

"Just the message that we’re trying to send to everyone… that we’re stronger than what happened here," Dawit Kelati, a Junior at UC Merced told FOX40.

It's the first day of class since investigators said freshman Faisal Mohammad stabbed four people inside a classroom on Wednesday morning.

"One of my bosses came running in and she was like, ‘We just heard gunshots make sure if anybody comes running in here you know what to do,'" Bianca Negrete, a Senior at the university explained. Negrete was at work that day and saw everything.

The senior helped students who were just as shocked at the violence, "So I opened up the gym and I was like, ‘Just come inside it was warm, it was so cold. So just come inside, there’s a heater, just sit down,'" she recalled.

Investigators said Mohammad, who was a first year computer science major, was angry that he had been kicked out of a study group.

In a manifesto, they say he listed students he planned to kill. Instead, he was shot dead by a campus police officer. Those who knew the freshman suspect said they tried to reach out.

"But I always try to be friendly with him but I would notice that he would just go eat and then go back into his room," Nancy Arreola, a student who lived two doors down from Mohammad said.

Meanwhile, many students said they're not butter against Mohammad. They hold their candles, wear their blue and gold t-shirts and most importantly their pride for their school, "I feel very proud to be a bobcat," Carlol Quirino, an alumna said.

Campus officials added that they also had counselors and police officers from UC's statewide to help with the first day of classes.