Blood gushed from a student’s neck and formed a puddle on the floor of a UCLA lab as instructors struggled to stanch the wound.
The 20-year-old woman was taken across the hall after being slashed in the neck by a classmate, and two staff members quickly applied pressure and put gauze on the wound. Stunned students watched in horror.
“Her eyes rolled back in her head, I called out her name and told her to stay with me. She wasn’t really responding. I think she could hear me,” said chemistry lecturer Stacie Nakamoto, whose lab the victim was brought into.
The victim, who Nakamoto and police would not identify, went to the hospital in critical condition. On Friday, her family released a statement saying she was showing signs of improvement and was expected to recover.
Damon D. Thompson, 20, was arrested shortly after the attack and booked for investigation of attempted murder.
Immediately after the attack, he walked into the student information center three floors below.
“He was very calm and said he had stabbed someone,” said Carol Verduzco, an administrative assistant who works in the office.
She said she asked if he was joking and then she called the police. Thompson waited in a chair for the few minutes it took police to arrive.
“I was in shock,” Verduzco said, noting she saw no blood on Thompson.
Los Angeles police detectives were interviewing witnesses to try to establish a motive for the attack. Thompson and the victim were not romantically involved, Detective Mike Pelletier said.
Thompson’s relatives said he is an only child who left his mother’s home in Belize two years ago to attend UCLA. His second cousin, 17-year-old Akilah Williams, said she was skeptical that Thompson was capable of the attack.
“He cares about what people think about him too much,” Williams told the Los Angeles Times. “He gets stressed out but that doesn’t mean he’d do something crazy.”
Witnesses said the attack left the blood-drenched woman dazed and near fainting.
Los Angeles police said Friday the woman was stabbed several times. They would not say what weapon was used or if the victim was stabbed anywhere besides the neck.