Santa Clara University campus rattled after student stabs sleeping roommate in dorm room

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By Mark Gomez and Robert Salonga
Mercury News

SANTA CLARA -- The typically laid-back scene at Santa Clara University was jolted with the stunning news that a student stabbed his sleeping roommate in an on-campus dorm.

Giving the attack an even grislier tone was a jail booking photo of 19-year-old Dillon Sang Kim that featured a fresh scar from when he apparently slashed his own neck. Both of them are expected to survive.

"It was shocking," said Jake Koplowitz, a resident of Graham Hall, where the stabbing occurred early Tuesday morning. "Stuff like that doesn't happen often around here. It's a very safe campus where not a lot goes on."

Koplowitz, a 19-year-old sophomore, said he did not know either the suspect or victim.

"It was just startling and makes you realize you don't really know everyone living in the building," he said.

Wednesday, the campus showed little to no signs of disruption stemming from the stabbing. In fact, campus tours could be seen stopping in front of Graham Hall as scheduled.

The attack was reported about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at the four-story dorm that is the newest on-campus residence, housing 350 freshmen and sophomores in two- and four-person suites. Santa Clara police, who are investigating the case, said Kim inflicted "multiple lacerations, including a stab wound," on his unidentified roommate.

Both students were taken to the hospital. That's thanks in part to three students in the university's 35-member EMS program -- serving as nightly on-call campus paramedics based in the student health center -- who were the first to respond to the 911 call.

"They did an incredible job," said program director Kate Rosen, a junior studying biochemistry. "We are extremely proud of them and humbled and honored they could respond and help a student in a moment of suffering."

Police confirmed that Kim was treated for self-inflicted wounds. After he was released from the hospital, Kim was booked into the Santa Clara County jail where he is being held without bail. His arraignment in Superior Court is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

While they believe the attack was unprovoked, police did not offer any motives Wednesday.

"We don't know specifically what caused this," said Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke. "The victim was asleep in the room and was attacked."

The university sent out a campus alert Tuesday notifying students about the attack and called attention to counseling available to the campus community.

"The health and welfare of our students is of paramount concern to the university, and we are doing all we can to assist the affected families," university Communications Director Deepa Arora said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the attack can contact Santa Clara police Sgt. Derek Rush at 408-615-4814.

Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him at

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