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Man stabs four people at University of California campus before he is killed by police

Merced County Sheriff deputies direct traffic out of the University of California, Merced, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.

Merced County Sheriff deputies direct traffic out of the University of California, Merced, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.  (ap)

An assailant stabbed four people on a rural university campus in central California before police shot and killed him, authorities said Wednesday.

Two of the victims attacked at the University of California, Merced, were taken by helicopter to hospitals for treatment, spokeswoman Lorena Anderson said. The other victims were treated on campus.

The university said on its verified Twitter account Wednesday that two students, one staff member and a vendor were wounded but were expected to recover. They said earlier in the day that five people were stabbed.

The attacker, a male student, was shot and killed by police.

Campus officials also said the rural campus would be closed Thursday and urged the community to seek counseling services that were available.

Student Alex Lopez was heading to his class when he realized something was wrong on campus.

"I was listening to a podcast, and there was a break in talking, and I just hear a gunshot," he said.

He said police and first responders flooded the scene.

"You see this stuff all over the news and stuff and you see it happen to all these other schools," but you don't expect it to happen at your school, said Lopez, 21.

The school remains on lockdown and classes have been canceled for the day. The stabbings occurred in front of the Classroom and Office Building shortly before 8 a.m. PST Wednesday, Anderson said.

The names of the victims and suspect were not released.

The school with more than 6,600 students is about 120 miles south of Sacramento in the farm-rich San Joaquin Valley. The campus in the city of Merced opened a decade ago and is the newest college in the University of California system.

It is the first UC campus built since 1965, the university says on its website.

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