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UCLA student charged with premeditated attempted murder in stabbing, slashing attack [Updated]

A UCLA student allegedly stabbed a classmate five times and slashed her throat in a crime prosecutors said today was premeditated.

Damon Thompson was charged this morning with one count of premeditated attempted murder in the attack last week in a chemistry lab.

Thompson, 20, from Belize, is being held on $1 million bail on suspicion of attempted murder and will be arraigned later today at the Airport Courthouse.

Despite initial reports that there was an argument between the students, prosecutors said today that Thursday's attack was unprovoked and that Thompson pulled out a knife and began stabbing the student for no apparent reason.

[Updated at 12:15 p.m.: The female victim, whose identity has not been released by officials, was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in critical condition but has been steadily improving, doctors said.

“Our patient is now out of the intensive care unit and out of danger -- and she is in good condition,” Dr. Henry Gill Cryer, professor and chief of trauma surgery at the hospital, said today.]

UCLA professor Stephen Frank, who taught Thompson in his Western Civilization class, said Saturday he told a university administrator 10 months ago that he was concerned about Thompson's mental health after receiving e-mails from the student.

In the e-mails, Thompson complained to Frank that classmates sitting around him had been disruptive and made offensive comments to him while he was taking a written exam, Frank said. In one of the e-mails, Thompson also accused Frank of taunting him.

"I believe I heard you, Professor Frank, say that I was 'troubled' and 'crazy' among other things," Thompson wrote in the e-mail. "My outrage at this situation coupled with the pressure of the very weighted examination dulled my concentration and detracted from my performance."

Frank denied Thompson's claims and told administrators the e-mails indicated Thompson was in need of help, urging university officials to take action. Frank said he was told other professors had reported similar exchanges with Thompson, who complained he was constantly taunted by students across campus -- in dorms, dining areas and the library.

Strict federal privacy laws prevent UCLA officials from disclosing how they handled the issue.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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Comments () | Archives (29)

There was a comment wondering if the act could have been premeditated. As a graduate student working in the chemistry department at UCLA, I am horrified that something like this happened so close to where I spend so many hours of my life doing research. The fact that the student brought the weapon with him into the lab, and that there was no verbal or physical altercation before the incident, indicate that he was, at the very least, prepared to take action in a violent way. It is quite unfortunate that the school is unable to take action when a professor reports suspicious behavior, but it is true that a psychological appointment cannot be made by anyone other than the patient himself. While I understand that outrage against the university that the event happened, there must also be the understanding that one can only do so much in encouraging a person to get help, or to encourage others to get involved to find a solution.

I am thankful that when I was a child and my mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (45 years ago) things were different and families could get the affected member committed if necessary. My sister and I are alive and well today because of it. And my mother got the help she needed and continued on (after 10 years in an institution) to live the best life possible for her. I can only imagine the life I would have had if this were not the case. Something needs to change.

Is this guy even a citizen. What citizen did he knock out of the running for the UCLA student position because of his looks...And you know he's there on some giveaway scholarship, he wasn't paying a thing...

He should have been deported at the first hint of trouble...This guy gives the other illegal criminals, who don't actually act out, a bad name...

Let give him another chance....

What was this guy doing in the USA in the first place? We California taxpayers are financing these illegal immigrants to go to college on our tax $!

If we deport all of those with PIOLIN bumper stickers our crime rate will drop and our collective IQ will rise.

As ELVISNIXON.COM says the ultimate responsibility for this attack rests on Obama/McCain/W/Pelosi' and teh failure to enforce border security

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