UCLA to hold vigil for murdered professor as investigators sort through shooting evidence
Students and faculty from the University of California, Los Angeles will gather along with community members on Friday for a second vigil to pay tribute to a professor who was gunned down in a murder-suicide two days ago by a former student.
On Thursday, hundreds gathered for a somber candlelight vigil to grieve the loss of engineering professor William Klug who, according to police, was shot and killed in a small office on campus on Wednesday by Mainak Sarkar, 38, who then took his own life.
“It will take time to cope and overcome the sadness that has cloaked our campus, but we will do it and we will do it together,” said Danny Siegel, the president of the student council at UCLA during the vigil.
Students and faculty covered the base of UCLA’s Bruin Bear statue on campus with notes in tribute to the well-liked professor as many of the school’s more than 43,000 students completed finals and class work ahead of summer break.
“Our entire UCLA family is mourning the loss of Professor Klug, a respected, dedicated and caring faculty member,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block wrote in a statement on Thursday.
Friday’s vigil will be held outside of Boelter Hall where, police said, Sarkar came armed with two 9mm pistols and multiple ammunition clips to kill Klug. He also planned to kill another professor, who was off campus at the time of the shooting and was unharmed.
Sarkar, a former UCLA student, shot dead a woman at her home in Minnesota before he drove almost 2,000 miles (3,200 km) to the school and killed Klug, police said.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters on Thursday that a search of Sarkar’s St. Paul, Minnesota, home turned up a “kill list” that included the name of the woman, Klug’s name and the name of another professor at the school.
Officials would not release the name of the woman, whose body police said they found at a house in the 2400 block of Pearson Parkway in Brooklyn Park near Minneapolis.
A marriage license application obtained by Reuters lists a residence on that block as the home of Ashley Erin Hasti and Sarkar, who married in Minnesota in 2011.
Neighbors also said Hasti lived at the home. Records do not show whether the couple, who appeared to have been living separately, were divorced.
An active Facebook page belonging to a Minneapolis-area woman named Ashley Hasti shows pictures of Sarkar, but not more recently than May of 2011, about two weeks before their marriage.
A page apparently belonging to him, with no public posts since 2011, still prominently displayed several photos of them together.
According to the birth date listed on the marriage license application, Hasti turned 31 in March.
Police in Brooklyn Park said they discovered the woman’s body when they went to check on her. They did not immediately disclose her identity.
Police searched Sarkar’s Minnesota home after finding a note at the Los Angeles crime scene asking for someone to check on his cat, Beck said.
The attack on Klug appeared to be provoked by Sarkar’s belief that his former professor had stolen computer code from him, according to a March blog post that appeared to be written by Sarkar, Beck said.
Reuters was not able to confirm the authenticity of the blog and, according to Beck, the UCLA said there is no truth to the alleged theft.
The anger reflected in the March blog contrasted with earlier online records indicating Sarkar had gotten along with Klug. In a copy of his 2013 dissertation posted online, Sarkar thanked Klug.
Beck said UCLA faculty members were aware that Sarkar, who graduated in 2013, harbored anger toward them.
University officials did not respond on Thursday to requests for comment on Sarkar’s claims.
Klug was a married father of two children.
“Bill was so much more than my soulmate. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life,” His wife, Mary Elise Klug, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee)