Engineering student Mainak Sarkar identified as UCLA gunman who killed professor
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 Mainak 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.
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 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.
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.
Some 200 police officers wearing bulletproof vests and helmets responded to several calls of shot fired, converging on the campus with rifles drawn, fearing the shooter might still be at large.
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.
“I am heartbroken by the sight of SWAT teams running down avenues normally filled with students, and angered by the fear that one person with a firearm can inflict on a community,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Piya Sinha-Roy; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzalez; Writing by Brendan O’Brien and Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)