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A former Cal State Fullerton administrator was fatally stabbed on a campus parking lot Monday in what police said was a targeted attack.
Fullerton Police Lt. Jon Radus told reporters that a bomb squad found an incendiary device inside a backpack under the car where the deadly assault occurred.
The backpack also contained an unspecified item that Radus said could have been used in a kidnapping.
"We believe this particular victim was the target of this homicide," Radus said, adding that investigators had not found a murder weapon.
Radus identified the victim as Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, of Hacienda Heights. Chan was a budget and finance director from from 2009 to 2017 who returned to the school earlier this year as a consultant, the school's president, Fram Virjee, said in a statement.
"I did not have the honor of knowing Steven personally or working with him directly, 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," Virjee said.
The suspect, who a witness said was wearing black pants, a black t-shirt and had black hair, remained at large after fleeing the scene on foot.
The killing occurred at about 8:30 a.m. in Parking Lot S, on the south end of the commuter campus in Fullerton, California, about 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles and 8 miles north of Disneyland.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and his attacker was last seen headed east on Nutwood Avenue, which runs along the south end of the campus, officials said.
"We do not know motive at this point for what occurred," Radus told reporters. "We do not believe there is a random stabber."
The school, which had 39,774 students last fall, has the biggest enrollment of any in the 23-campus California State University system.
Monday marked the school's first day of the academic year, and classes begin next week. Campus police said they'd step up patrols around the school.
For a relatively low-profile commuter school, Cal State Fullerton has endured its share of tragedy. In 1971, three assistant football coaches were killed in a plane crash. Five years later, school custodian Edward Charles Allaway killed seven people in the university library's basement. Allaway believed his co-workers were making pornographic films with his ex-wife.
In 1984, physics professor Edward Cooperman was shot to death in his office. The year after that, a part-time professor and regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Alex Odeh, was killed by a bomb.