Los Angeles, June 2: Los Angeles police on Thursday identified the gunman who killed a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, before taking his own life as Maik Sarkar, an engineering student at the school.
Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Jane Kim confirmed that the gunman had been identified as Sarkar but declined to provide other details. Sarkar had been a doctoral candidate at the school, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing police.
Sarkar is listed on a UCLA website as a member of a computatiol biomechanics research group run by the victim William Klug.
The shooting prompted the sprawling urban campus to close for about two hours on Wednesday as police confirmed that Sarkar and his victim, 39-year-old engineering professor William Klug, were the only people involved in the incident.
The Los Angeles coroner’s office confirmed that Klug died in the attack.
University officials said classes would resume on Thursday and counsellors 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.
Klug was a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, according to the university’s website. The Times reported that Klug was attempting to develop a computer-generated virtual heart.
“You cannot ask for a nicer, gentler, sweeter and more supportive guy than William Klug,” professor Alan Garfinkel told the newspaper 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.
Umar Rehman, 21, was in a math sciences classroom adjacent to Engineering IV, the building where the shooting took place. The buildings are connected by walkway bridges near the center of the 419-acre campus.
“We kept our eye on the door. We knew that somebody eventually could come,” he said, acknowledging the terror he felt. The door would not lock and those in the room devised a plan to hold it closed using a belt and crowbar, and demand ID from anyone who tried to get in.
One student who spent hours sheltering in a building did the same thing almost exactly two years ago when he was locked down in a dorm at UC Santa Barbara during a shooting rampage in the surrounding neighborhood that left six students dead and wounded 13 people.
Jeremy Peschard, 21, said it was “scary” and “eerily similar” but also that having been through the feeling of crisis before left him almost numb. (IANS)