UCLA campus lockdown lifted after murder-suicide leaves 2 dead

Jintak Han/ Daily Bruin/Courtesy

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Update 06/01/2016: This article has been updated to reflect new information regarding the state of UCLA’s campus lockdown.

The UCLA campus was on lockdown Wednesday morning after a shooting in the Engineering IV building left two men dead.

The lockdown lasted approximately two hours and was lifted at about noon Wednesday, according to a UCLA press release. The release states that the shooting had been contained and the UCLA campus is now safe.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, the shooting was a murder-suicide. Beck added that there is “no continuing threat” to UCLA’s campus.

The shooter has since been identified as Mainak Sarkar, a 38-year-old former doctoral student and a resident of Minnesota. According to multiple sources, Sarkar killed William Klug, a UCLA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, before taking his own life.

Sarkar reportedly had a “kill list” with three names on it in his Minnesota home. The list included Klug and another UCLA professor whose name was not disclosed and who was not on campus when the shooting took place, as well as a woman who was found dead in Minnesota.

Sarkar had accused Klug of stealing his computer code, according to multiple sources, and had been posting angry comments about Klug on social media for several months.

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the majority of the UCLA campus had been reopened, but the police were still searching some buildings, according to a spokesperson from LAPD.

At the time of the incident, students in the area told UCPD that they heard loud gunshots and the sound of gun shellings dropping, as reported by the Daily Bruin. Then, about 9:50 a.m. Wednesday, UCLA released a “Bruin Alert” instructing students to find a “secure location and lock entry.”

UCLA Police Chief James Herren told members of the media that hundreds of law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to the shooting. These responders included police officers from UCLA, LAPD and Santa Monica College, as well as agents from the FBI and members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“We have a lot of resources here that we’re dedicating to ensure the safety of the campus community,” Herren said at a press conference. “It is something that we have trained to do. So when our officers arrived on scene, they immediately began putting teams together … to help those who have been injured and also search teams to look for suspects.”

According to Beck, the case has been turned over to the department’s Robbery-Homicide Division for investigation.

In an official statement Thursday, UC President Janet Napolitano said that “no campus should ever suffer an act of violence” like the incident that occurred at UCLA, and expressed sympathy for those affected by the shooting.

“In responding with courage and resilience, UCLA’s students, faculty and staff continue to demonstrate the strength of the UCLA community,” Napolitano said in the statement. “We send our wholehearted support as the campus recovers from this tragedy.”

Heather Vaughan, a sophomore at UCLA and a facilitator for an education course, said she was co-teaching a class of 17 students when the shooting took place. Vaughan said that despite initial confusion about what steps to take, she and her students found a secure office in which to take shelter within two minutes.

“It was very tense and everyone was stressed,” Vaughan said of the shooting, but added that overall “everyone stayed calm.”

Classes at UCLA were canceled for the day and are expected to resume Thursday, according to the UCLA press release.

Staff writers Lillian Dong and Sally Littlefield contributed to this report.

Logan Goldberg is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @logangoldberg.