Reuters – Los Angeles police on Thursday identified a graduate engineering student, Mainak Sarkar, as the man who killed a University of California professor in a murder-suicide that prompted a two-hour lockdown of the sprawling urban campus.
Sarkar shot dead engineering professor William Klug, 39, in a small office on the campus, police said. The attack appeared to be provoked by Sarkar’s belief that Klug had stolen computer code from him, according to a March blog post by a person of the same name.
“Your enemy is my enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm,” Sarkar wrote in the post. “Be careful about whom you trust.”
Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the post. The Los Angeles Times quoted an unnamed university source as saying the claims made in the blog were “untrue” and “absolutely psychotic.”
University officials could not be reached immediately for comment on Thursday.
Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Jane Kim on Thursday confirmed that Sarkar was the gunman. The Los Angeles coroner’s office confirmed Klug’s identity on Wednesday.
University officials said classes would resume on Thursday and counselors will be available for students, faculty and staff.
“Our hearts are heavy this evening as our campus family mourns the sudden and tragic deaths of two people on our campus earlier today,” said Chancellor Gene Block in a statement.
‘CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT’
Students took to social media to ask the university to reschedule final exams, saying they had been rattled by the shooting and lockdown and needed time to prepare.
Students said on social media on Wednesday that they had hidden behind doors that could not be locked while police searched the campus to make sure there were no other gunmen.
“How the hell am I going to study for finals when this just happened? I can’t think straight,” Bahjat Alirani, a UCLA bioengineering student said on Twitter.
“Students need time to process today. Hope my colleagues seriously consider postponing finals this week. Let’s help everyone heal,” Tyrone Howard, a UCLA associate dean and professor of education, said on Twitter.
Reports of shots fired at U.S. schools, or even sightings of a gunman, typically bring heavy police responses and lockdowns because of the nation’s history of mass shootings. They include the nine people shot at Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon last October and the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech where a gunman shot dead 32 people, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Klug, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, specialized in biomechanics, including the workings of the human heart, according to UCLA’s website.
“You cannot ask for a nicer, gentler, sweeter and more supportive guy than William Klug,” professor Alan Garfinkel told the Times of his colleague.
Engineering student Aaron Feigelman said he received a text message alerting him to the emergency on Wednesday and entered an adjacent building, where he and five others took refuge for 90 minutes.
“We tied the bathroom door hinges with belts to keep the door closed because there were no locks. And we just waited. It was really scary,” Feigelman said.
Police recovered a gun and what may be a suicide note at the scene, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.
UCLA, with more than 43,000 students, is one of the more well-regarded schools in the University of California system.