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Relatives of alleged UCLA throat-slasher shocked by his arrest

October 9, 2009 |  9:00 am

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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