FULLERTON — Police on Tuesday hunted a black-clad attacker who stabbed to death a former California State University, Fullerton budget and finance director in the campus parking lot.
Efforts to help him failed and the 57-year-old Hacienda Heights man died at the scene, police said.
A backpack believed to belong to the attacker was found under the car. It contained a knife-like weapon, items that could be used in a kidnapping and an incendiary device, Fullerton police Lt. Jon Radus said.
“It was basically like a bottle with flammable liquid and a potential igniter” but it had not been set off, Radus said.
The 911 caller described the attacker they saw run away as a man in his 20s with black hair, wearing black pants and black shirt, Radus said.
The Attacker Targeted Chen Specifically
Officers using dogs searched for the man but couldn’t find him.
Police “will be working around the clock to identify the suspect involved,” the department said in a tweet.
The attacker targeted Chen specifically although investigators were still trying to determine the motive, Radus said.
He returned to campus as a special consultant in early 2019 “to provide his sage guidance and wisdom,” university President Fram Virjee said in a statement.
Virjee said he did not know Chan personally “but over the past few hours, in providing a shoulder to lean on for those who were close to him, it is clear that he was beloved for his commitment to and passion for both Cal State Fullerton and our Titan Family.”
CSUF’s new academic year began Monday although no students were on campus because weekend classes don’t start until Saturday and weekday classes until Monday, the school said.
The School Has a Grimmer History as Well
The attack came as campus police were filming active-shooter scenarios in Pollack Library and other locations as part of emergency preparation. The filming was canceled after the attack.
But it has a grimmer history as well.
In 1976, a custodian with a history of mental illness opened fire with a rifle in the school library, killing seven people and wounding two others. Edward Allaway was convicted of murder but then found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital.
In 1984, physics professor Edward Cooperman was shot and killed at school by a former student, 21-year-old Minh Van Lam, who served less than two years in prison. He said the shooting was an accident.