UC Merced Stabbing Suspect from Santa Clara had No Political, Religious Motivations

A Santa Clara resident and student at the University of California at Merced who was fatally shot by campus police after stabbing four people on campus Wednesday did not appear to have any political or religious motivations, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

Faisal Mohammad, 18, a freshman who majored in computer science and engineering, was shot by police after fleeing from the stabbing incident, which began shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday in a classroom at the Classroom and Office Building on campus, UC Merced officials said.
The four victims – two students, a staff member and a contractor – are expected to survive their injuries, according to the university.

Nothing in Mohammad’s history or personal belongings showed the stabbing was spurred by politics or religion, Sheriff Vern Warnke said during a news conference. The evidence collected so far doesn’t appear to indicate the suspect was engaging in terrorism and his actions may have been led by “personal animosities,” UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said.

“This was a horrible act by a single individual that impacted the campus,” Leland said. “This incident is not characteristic of the climate of our campus. I want parents to know that we are providing incredible extra support to students,” she said.

The stabbings are being investigated by campus police with the assistance of the FBI and the sheriff’s department. Sheriff’s officials are overseeing the investigation into the officer-involved shooting. Bomb squads from Merced police and the sheriff’s office searched Mohammad’s backpack and found numerous items that indicated he “had far greater intentions to do more,” Warnke said. The backpack held handcuffs, zip ties, two clear bags of petroleum jelly, a single-lens night vision scope, a safety hammer that can be used to break windows and two rolls of duct tape, according to Warnke. Warnke called the petroleum jelly a “poor man’s C4,” explaining it could be used to make an explosive.

Mohammad graduated from Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara in June, Santa Clara Unified School District spokeswoman Jennifer Dericco said. Counselors are available for students and staff at the high school today and as long as needed to provide support in light of the death, Dericco said.

Vicki Hennessy Wins Sheriff Election, Plans Policy for Deputies To Communicate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Vicki Hennessy on Thursday said that after winning the race for San Francisco Sheriff one of her first orders of business will be to instruct sheriff’s deputies to communicate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on a case-by-case basis. That instruction will replace a controversial directive by current Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who in March prohibited sheriff’s deputies from directly contacting federal immigration officials.

Mirkarimi’s memo was issued just one month prior to the release of Juan Francisco Sanchez-Lopez, a Mexican national, five-time deportee and convicted felon, who is now charged with murder in the July 1 fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Kate Steinle near the San Francisco Ferry Building. Steinle’s death brought national attention to Mirkarimi’s policies and San Francisco’s Sanctuary City and Due Process for All ordinances, which were created to encourage communication and trust between undocumented immigrants and local law enforcement.

“Certainly the sanctuary policy will be different.” Hennessy said of her plans for office. “I will allow communication in certain instances and I’m working on developing that policy.” She said her policy would not target San Francisco’s “hardworking and law-abiding” undocumented immigrants, but would focus on “career criminals.”

In October, a San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ resolution urging Mirkarimi to rescind his memo, authored by Supervisor Mark Farrell, was tabled in a 6-5 vote. Since Steinle’s death, city officials have been considering whether to participate in the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security program known as the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP. PEP enables federal immigration officials to work with state and local law enforcement and take custody of convicted criminals or individuals who pose a danger to public safety.

Hennessy on Thursday said she stands with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in their unanimously adopted resolution against PEP implementation. “PEP is not the way I want to go,”
Hennessy said while PEP is better than DHS’ previous Secure Communities, or S-Comm program, she feels “it still allows a lot of latitude for federal agents to make snap decisions on their own.”  She said PEP not only allows those with misdemeanor convictions to be picked up, but also requests law enforcement agencies to maintain custody of priority individuals for up to two days beyond the time when the individual would otherwise have been released from custody, which Hennessy said goes against the city’s Sanctuary City ordinance.

District Attorney Files Charges Against Driver Who Struck 12-Year-Old Boys

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against a 30-year-old driver who struck two 12-year-old boys as they crossed the street in the city’s Marina district Wednesday morning.

Kristen Andereck, 30, of San Francisco, has been charged with one count of felony DUI with injury, one count of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, and two counts of child endangerment with allegations of great bodily injury with enhancements, according to district attorney spokesman Maxwell Szabo.

Andereck was arrested on suspicion of DUI after she struck the two boys at about 8:30 a.m. near Buchanan and Bay streets, according to police. The boys suffered life-threatening injuries, but are expected to survive, police said. Andereck was driving a white Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and stayed at
the scene of the collision.

According to yearbook records, Andereck attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory in 2001. in 2004, when Andereck was 19 years old, she was a debutante at a Cotillion event hosted by the Cotillion Club of San Francisco. Andereck also appears to have been a close family friend to the deceased comedian and Marin County resident Robin Williams, according to local media reports following his death by suicide last year. Andereck is currently out on $230,000 bail and will most likely appear in court on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., Szabo said.

Weeklong Central Subway Construction Brings Detours to SOMA Beginning Friday

Crews will be working around the clock in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood for eight days beginning Friday to seamlessly connect the T-Third line to the new underground Central Subway, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

John Funghi, the SFMTA’s Central Subway program director, stood at the corner of Fourth and Brannan streets Thursday by the Caltrain station where he explained, over the roar of passing traffic, how the intersection will be altered to connect existing Muni infrastructure with the Central Subway.

Starting Friday at 10 p.m., motorists will be rerouted around the intersection and surrounding streets while crews work around the clock to lay two and a half blocks of extension rails from the T-Third line to connect it with the completed Central Subway tunnel at Fourth and Bryant streets. Funghi said commuters should expect delays and prepare for significant detours. Traffic will be rerouted until the evening of Nov. 14, but motorists will still have access to the Interstate Highway 280 on and off ramps.

Bus shuttles between the Sunnydale neighborhood and Embarcadero station will replace the T-Third line’s light rail vehicles during the weeklong closure. Riders traveling between Embarcadero Station and Fourth and King streets will need to transfer to the N-Judah or the T bus shuttle at Embarcadero station. Traffic closures will be in place on eastbound King Street between Fifth and Third streets, southbound Fourth Street between Berry and King streets, northbound Fourth Street between Channel and King streets, as well as the southern portion of the Fourth and King streets intersection. Additionally, the N-Owl will have a temporary stop on Townsend Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, while the 91-Owl will have a temporary stop at Third and Berry streets.

Caltrain customers heading downtown are encouraged to take the 10, 30, 45, 81X or 82X Muni bus lines, according to the SFMTA. The 81X and 82X, which operate during peak hours, will operate
from a temporary stop on Townsend Street between Third and Fourth streets. This detour and closure marks the second phase of the work that began on Labor Day weekend and coincides with massive utility upgrades at the intersection at Fourth and Brannan streets to prepare for a new transit station there.

Trains won’t actually proceed into the new tunnel until about 2018 and won’t be ready to serve the public until about 2019, at which point transit riders will be able to go to a new Union Square station or transfer below ground to the Powell Street station. Once the extended T-Third line is up and running, the SFMTA estimates that roughly 65,000 riders will travel on it per day, which could make it one of the most popular transit lines in the country.