Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2016 – 2:28 AM
The man who killed a UCLA engineering professor and then killed himself was a resident of Minnesota who appears also to have killed a woman in a small town in that state, authorities said today.
The woman’s name was found on a “kill list” in the Minnesota residence of the gunman, Mainak Sarkar, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said. Also on that list, along with Klug’s name, was the name of a second UCLA professor, whose name ‘s Beck would not reveal. That professor was not hurt.
The relationship between between Sarkar and the dead woman, whose body was found in Brooklyn Park near Sarkar’s home, was not immediately clear.
Beck said Sarkar, 38, drove down from Minnesota, and his car — a gray Nissan Sentra — is being sought in the UCLA area, although there is no indication it is booby-trapped.
Beck scheduled a news conference at LAPD headquarters later this morning to discuss the case.
The UCLA campus reopened today, with the university offering counseling to students and faculty distressed by Wednesday’s shooting, as details began emerging about the fraught relationship between the professor who was killed and the former graduate student who killed him, then himself.
A vigil is planned at UCLA tonight.
The man shot to death at the School of Engineering, later prompting the daylong closure of the entire campus, was identified by the coroner’s office as 39-year-old William Klug of El Segundo, a father of two and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Colleagues told The Times that Klug was both brilliant and kind.
The gunman was Mainak Sarkar, 38, who lived in Minnesota, according to the LAPD. Sarkar was a former Ph.D student and a current member of the Klug Research Group; Computational Biomechanics, at UCLA, according to a Klug Research Group publication.
Sarkar had accused the victim of stealing his computer code and giving it to someone else, The Times reported, citing police.
Klug had been the target of Sarkar’s anger on social media for months. On March 10, Sarkar called Klug a “very sick person” who should not be trusted. He also urged new students to stay away from him.
A source told The Times that the gunman’s claims were “absolutely untrue.”
“The idea that somebody took his ideas is absolutely psychotic,” the source said, adding that Klug bent over backwards to help Sarkar finish his dissertation and graduate even though the quality of his work was not stellar.
“Bill was a super nice guy,” the source said. “He didn’t want to hurt the guy.”
In his doctoral dissertation, submitted in 2013, Sarkar expressed gratitude to Klug for his help and support, The Times reported.
The shooting, which, for a time, triggered fears that at least one gunman was on a rampage, was reported shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday in Boelter Hall, part of the Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the entire campus was placed on lockdown, along with three Los Angeles Unified School District schools nearby.
The incident prompted a massive response involving three local police departments, two federal law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Fire Department. One of the responders — the Los Angeles Police Department — deployed some of its specialized units, including the SWAT team and the bomb squad, and the murder-suicide probe is now in the hands of Robbery Homicide.
The LAPD went on tactical alert, meaning officers were kept on past the end of their shifts, as an intensive law enforcement sweep was carried out on the Westside campus amid fears of an active shooter.
The initial reports of a shooting prompted the university to send a “Bruin Alert” to all students and staff notifying them to avoid the School of Engineering area or shelter in place. Some students reported via social media hunkering down in restrooms or classrooms, using anything they could — belts, furniture — to prevent entry from the outside.
Even after the campus was deemed secure, all classes were canceled for the day, along with evening activities, but Scott Waugh, UCLA vice chancellor and provost, said campus operations would return to normal today — except for engineering classes, which will be canceled for the rest of the week. Waugh said this weekend’s and next week’s final exams would not be disrupted.
“We want to resume normal operations as quickly as possible so we will resume scheduled classes tomorrow morning,” Waugh said Wednesday.
“Faculty, staff and students should show up tomorrow and go through their regular routines and complete the quarter as planned. We will go ahead with commencement and final examinations over the next few weeks and hope to return our campus to normal and return the Bruin community to its normal operations.
“This is a tragic event but it does show that with adequate preparation and good cooperation with all our law enforcement agencies, we can bring it to a successful close.”
UCLA officials said the university is offering counseling services to students and staff affected by the shooting. The university has designated “healing spaces” on the campus where students can gather, and counselors will be available for students at the Counseling and Psychological Services office.
The Staff and Faculty Counseling Center at 10920 Wilshire Blvd. remained open until 10 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to be open again from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, in summing up what had happened, said late Wednesday morning that two men were found dead inside a small office in the building, and a gun was found nearby.
“A homicide and a suicide occurred in the engineering part of the UCLA campus on the south side,” Beck said. “It appears it is entirely contained. We believe there are no suspects outstanding, and no continuing threat to UCLA’s campus.”
Beck said at least three shots were fired. He confirmed evidence was found at the scene “that could be a suicide note, but we do not know that at this point.”
Once the killings were determined to be a murder-suicide, police continued to thoroughly sweep through the building and several adjacent buildings “out of an abundance of caution,” as Beck put it.
As police began clearing classrooms, students were seen walking from buildings, often with their hands raised and some being subjected to pat-downs as they left.
Along with the LAPD and UCLA campus police, the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives both dispatched agents to the campus.
Also responding to the scene were police from Santa Monica College, where a shooting spree occurred June 7, 2013, ending when officers killed the gunman in the campus library. Five other people died in that shooting.
Fairburn and Warner elementary schools and Emerson Middle School, all of which are located near UCLA, were placed on lockdown during the investigation, the LAUSD reported. They resumed normal operations shortly after noon.
President Barack Obama was briefed aboard Air Force One about the UCLA shooting, according to the White House.
According to Klug’s online biography, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Westmont College in 1998, a master’s at UCLA in 1999 and a doctorate from Caltech in 2003.
An account benefiting the Klug family has been established on the website Gofundme.com, with more than $5,000 raised in the first two hours. Donations to the Klug family memorial fund can be made at gofundme.com/27gqffg .
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 – 11:54 AM
Two men were fatally shot at UCLA’s campus today in what LAPD Chief Charlie Beck described as a “homicide and suicide.”
CBS News Los Angeles reported Wednesday afternoon that the murder-suicide was between a professor and student, who was upset over his grades.
William Scott Klug was the professor who was killed. The name of the student has not yet been released.
The shooting was reported shortly before 10 a.m. in Boelter Hall, which is part of the Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, according to the university.
The entire campus was placed on lockdown and students were advised to shelter in place. A large number of police and fire units swarmed to the Westwood campus, and paramedics were seen standing by with gurneys.
The Los Angeles Police Department went on a tactical alert in response to the shooting reports. Police confirmed the campus lockdown has been lifted and classes are canceled for the remainder of the day.
Locally, Beverly Hills Police Captain Michael Hill told the Courier Wednesday that police were conducting normal patrols near Beverly Hills schools, but that the BHPD has “received nothing to indicate there is any kind of movement from the UCLA incident to any parts of Beverly Hills.”
Fairburn and Warner elementary schools and Emerson Middle School, all of which are located near the campus, were placed on lockdown, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Vehicles are advised to avoid the Westwood area – especially Le Conte Ave. and Westwood Plaza Drive, Westwood Boulevard.