Cal State Fullerton stabbing leaves retired administrator dead; ‘incendiary device’ found

Cal State Fullerton stabbing leaves retired administrator dead; 'incendiary device' found

A retired Cal State Fullerton administrator was stabbed to death Monday morning on the first day of the university’s academic year, and authorities later found an explosive device nearby.

The assailant is still at large.

Fullerton police responded to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the College Park building. Police found the victim, a man in his late 50s, inside a silver Infiniti, bleeding from his head with multiple stab wounds to his body. Police found an “incendiary device” near the vehicle that showed the suspect targeted the victim.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad was called to the scene to investigate a backpack that had been found under the victim’s vehicle. Lt. Jon Radus described the “crude” incendiary device as “something capable of starting a fire.”

The device was not set off. It had to be set off manually.

The suspect, a man in his 20s with black hair, black pants and a black shirt, was last seen running toward the Marriott area near Langsdorf Drive and Nutwood Avenue, police said. Officers deployed police dogs to search for the man.

“Do not confront suspect,” the Cal State Fullerton Police Department said.

Police think the victim, who was working as a consultant on campus, was targeted, said Lt. Jon Radus of the Fullerton Police Department. Authorities initially said he was a retired faculty member who worked in international student affairs.

Paramedics performed lifesaving measures, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Radus said detectives don’t know what prompted the attack.

“We don’t believe there is a random stabber on the loose at this particular time,” he said.

Radus said campus police were not aware of any threats toward the slain man. Officers will increase their patrols around the campus throughout the day. Though the academic year has begun for the campus, classes do not begin until Aug. 24.

The attack happened as campus police were filming active-shooter scenarios in the Pollack Library, a campus Carl’s Jr. and elsewhere to prepare students and staff for emergencies, according to campus spokeswoman Cerise Metzger. The filming was canceled after reports of the attack.

As of about 3:30 p.m., police still had no leads on the suspect. Radus hopes to have more information on the identities of the suspect and victim later Monday or Tuesday.
At the crime scene, the Infiniti’s car door remained open and numbered markings had been placed around and on top of the vehicle.

Cal State Fullerton employees peered at the scene as they carried their lunches back to the College Park office from restaurants across the street.

Lydia Jimenez, a medical assistant, arrived at her office building across from the parking lot just as police pulled up.

“You could tell somebody was lying out there,” she said.

Jimenez, 72, told her colleagues to stay indoors.

“I told them, ‘There’s somebody dead out there,’” she said.

She didn’t leave her office building for hours, fearing that the assailant could still be nearby.

LaToya Green, a communications lecturer at the university, said panicked students were texting her all morning. Green, 30, works in the College Park office building that towers over the crime scene.

She arrived to work about 10 a.m., after police had already swarmed the area.

“Before the location was determined, some of my students were in a panic,” Green said. “You never think this is going to happen at your campus.”

Junior David Velazquez, 19, was on his way to a nearby grocery store around 11 a.m. when he saw police vehicles on scene.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Velazquez said. “This makes me more alert for what can happen on campus. You’ve seen a lot lately about bad things happening at schools. For something like this to happen, makes me think something worse could happen.”

Times staff writer Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.

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