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UCLA student stabbed in neck at lab

October 8, 2009 12:31:02 AM PDT
A UCLA student was badly injured when a fellow student slashed her throat in a campus lab, police said Thursday. An arrest has been made in the case.UCLA police responded to a call of stabbing in a lab room in William G. Young Hall at about 12:20 p.m. The victim suffered multiple stab wounds, including one to the neck, and was transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The suspect was identified Thursday night as Damon Thompson, 20. He was booked for attempted murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

The 20-year-old female victim was in stable condition Thursday night at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after undergoing surgery for multiple stab wounds. She was stabbed by a man believed to be her laboratory partner. The name of the victim was not released.

"She was saying, 'I don't want to die,'" said Long Nguyen. Nguyen witnessed the bloody and horrific scene on the 6th floor of Young Hall Thursday. "The T.A. and the victim go out and ask for help. I just ran around to call someone with a telephone to call 911."

Woojin Lee was in a lab across the hall. He heard screams and crying, and captured some photos on his cell phone.

"Everybody came out and they were running around, calling the paramedics," said Lee.

It was a teaching assistant who kept applying pressure through gauze on the victim's neck to stop the heavy bleeding. Minutes later, paramedics were on the scene.

"It was cut from here to here, it was cut open," said Lee, motioning to his throat. "It was terrible. I could see stuff, and then blood all over the place."

Word of the stabbing traveled fast on the campus as a result of an e-mail alert.

Two hours after the stabbing, campus police and LAPD investigators were in and out of the chemistry building, located off Hilgard Ave. on the southeastern side of the campus.

There was no sign of panic on campus Thursday.

Investigators and officers reportedly had no difficulty finding the suspect.

"At about 12:20, the police department got a call of a stabbing victim in one of our facilities," said UCLA Police Assistant Chief Jeff Young. "Our officers from the UCLA Police Department responded within minutes. We were able to apprehend the suspect nearby."

Police have not said how many students were present when the male student attacked the female student.

The victim was transported to the hospital with slash wounds to her throat.

Campus police called in LAPD investigators to assist. They say it is an extensive crime scene, because of all the people they must interview.

"The size also deals with the number of witnesses involved, and things like that," said Young. "So it's not so much the physical location, as it is just the number of people that had to be interviewed ... well over 30 people, I believe, that had some information that we had to obtain."

"At this time, we don't have a motive," said LAPD Detective Marti Moran. "And again, that's something that the detectives are going to be looking into during their investigation."

Young did say he wanted to assure parents and UCLA students that the campus is safe, and what happened Thursday was a very unusual incident.

Thursday night, students were shaken by the violence that nearly cost a young woman her life.

"It's a very safe neighborhood. I actually went to USC for my undergrad and it's a very dangerous neighborhood. I came here expecting it to be much safer, and then recently there have been a few incidents," said Steevens Alconce, UCLA teaching assistant.

"I heard about the incident at Yale University," said student Kim Tu. "I just didn't think it would happen here, right in my department."

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