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Relatives of alleged UCLA throat-slasher shocked by his arrest

Relatives of the man suspected of slashing the neck of a fellow UCLA student were in disbelief today that the mellow young man who raided their refrigerator could commit such a violent act.

Damon D. Thompson, who was arrested Thursday after the attack in a chemistry lab on the Westwood campus, frequently stayed at relatives’ tidy brown home in Fontana with a basketball hoop in the driveway. He is an only child who left his mother’s home in Belize two years ago to attend UCLA.

His second cousin, Akilah Williams, 17, said she was shocked when she heard the news and skeptical that the 20-year-old could commit such a brutal act.

 “He cares about what people think about him too much,” Williams said. “He gets stressed out but that doesn’t mean he’d do something crazy.”

Thompson is accused of slashing the neck of a 20-year-old woman Thursday afternoon in a chemistry lab on the sixth floor of Young Hall, prompting a swift police mobilization and leaving the student body shaken. The victim, whose name has not been released, is recovering at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after emergency surgery.

Thompson, who was arrested inside Young Hall minutes after the attack, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder. Police are searching for a motive.

Relatives described Thompson as mellow though sometimes “snooty” about his possessions.

Williams said her only complaint about her cousin was that he occasionally raided the fridge.

“He would eat everything,” she said. “I mean everything.”

Thompson had no other family in the United States, so he would spend school breaks, including all of last summer, at his mother’s cousin’s Fontana home. Relatives said they had never seen their cousin become violent.

“He was even nice to my dog, Doc,” said Jabari Williams, 16, also a second cousin.

-- Robert Faturechi reporting from Fontana

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Comments () | Archives (10)

It does a disservice to the african american community when the media refuses to post a photo of the suspect. Often times, we find out later that the suspect was white.

"The canibals" comment is off, since I suspect the photo was not posted to NOT show an African-American face and have the whole black community scapegoated - especially as there are relatively few blacks on campus, but after outcry over onl 98 admitted a couple years ago, this class has many more like this suspect from Belize.

Which raises questions about how he was selected and whether he was academically suited to being thrown into such a competitive setting - as his relatives confirm, he was clearly under too much stress at school, after appearing "normal" all summer. Though I wonder what the comment about his being wary about people around his possessions means. Sounds like he comes from a poverty-stricken background where people steal each other's things, a big social adjustment that he couldn't make onto such a diverse, competitive campus. My guess is that the female victim is Asian, judging by the majority of students interviewed on the scene, a "typical" academically competitive and accomplished student who may have accidentally said or done something to make him feel dissed, a cultural error compounded by the pressure the school was under this year to increase black enrollment especially recruiting students from outside the local area.

One hopes that academic standards weren't lowered too much in the school's attempt to make up for admitting too few black students the year before - there must be a certain equitable level of academic achievement and test scores, otherwise putting a student in over his head can just lead to great frustrations. This is not a 'racist" fear. That has been well-documented among ethnic students who are admitted from community colleges locally as well - with the University not having the money to offer counseling and support services to all these students, who need help selecting courses and just navigating their way around.

HOWEVER this should in no way reflect negatively on the black student body in general. I was on campus last night, and life looked pretty normal, though people made dark cracks about the incident to defuse tension. As always, black-white-Asian-Latino students and staff milled around comfortably with each other, absolutely no "wariness" towards African-Americans.

Why, in the absence of a photo, do you make any assumptions about race?

And frankly, why is any information about race necessary?

Funny, the Times had no delay printing the photo of the suspect in that lab killing at Yale.

Could be the liberal media's double standard, which holds white men more accountable, but since the LA Times won't discuss this then it can't exist, right?

His second cousin, Akilah Williams, 17, said she was shocked when she heard the news and skeptical that the 20-year-old could commit such a brutal act.

“He cares about what people think about him too much,” Williams said. “He gets stressed out but that doesn’t mean he’d do something crazy.”

Just another good person gone bad according to his relatives. Tell that to the family of the woman he senselessly attacked.

Canimalshusband and Larry, what the hell are you two talking about? The race of the suspect and victim has no relevance to this story. Nor does the enrollment of black students on campus. Why does race have to always be brought into every conversation?

“snooty” about his possessions. Perhaps the victim grabbed something of his by accident and he retaliated. I know its a stretch but if they were lab partners for the day maybe she knocked something of his over or touched something that belonged to him who knows. I hope the victim recovers soon.

I hope the victim recovers. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. As for the person who did this, what the hell was he thinking? If you even make it as far as a UCLA student, why ruin your future? There are LOTS of students wanting to get in. Wasted future....
Jenna

Jen,

I totally agree with you. People in this country are so obsessed with race that it is just becoming ridiculous. This is quite possibly a seriously disturbed individual senselessly going after one of his classmates for whatever foolish reason. What does this have to do with the number of Blacks being admitted to UCLA?

For the record Mr. Larry, there is quite a large number of brilliant Blacks all over the world (not just in America) that are attending distinguished institutions of higher learning all over the world based on their own merits and not just to fill quotas as you are implying. I am a black woman from the Caribbean that was educated among other brilliant blacks, whites, Asians etc. in a very advanced and diverse educational system. I was never labeled as a color in my country. Interestingly, I didn't quite realize I was "Black" until I landed in America.

what a surprise. I would have never guessed that black males are violent even in chemistry labs. Poor girl - maybe she will learn more political correctness next time as to avoid by stabbed in the throat by a black beast.


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