Mainak Sarkar identified as shooter of UCLA professor
03 June 2016
Police on Thursday identified the man they say carried out a murder-suicide that took the life of an engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The shooter was Mainak Sarkar, said Officer Jenny Houser, a city police spokeswoman. Sarkar is listed on a UCLA website as a member of a computational biomechanics research group run by the victim, a professor of biomechanical engineering.
The shooting Wednesday brought a massive police response and widespread fear of an active shooter among tens of thousands of people at the university. Now fear has shifted to sadness as many lament the death of a professor who worked on computer models of the human heart who was also a doting father who coached his young son's baseball team.
Bill Klug, a professor of mechanical engineering, was gunned down in an engineering building office on Wednesday. Finding the gunman's motive in killing Klug was foremost in the investigation as it continued on Thursday.
Classes at the UCLA campus resumed today for most of the school, and will resume on Monday for the engineering department, whose students and faculty were coming to grips with his loss.
"Bill was an absolutely wonderful man, just the nicest guy you would ever want to meet," said a collaborator, UCLA Professor Alan Garfinkel. "Devoted family man, superb mentor and teacher to so many students. He was my close colleague and friend. Our research together was to build a computer model of the heart, a 50 million variable 'virtual heart' that could be used to test drugs."
Peter Gianusso, who headed the El Segundo Little League where Klug coached, said he "exemplified what Little League was all about: character, courage and loyalty.
"He had a special relationship with his son through baseball, was a great coach, spent countless hours on the field with the boys and girls of El Segundo Little League," Gianusso said.
The initial reports from the scene set off widespread fears of an attempted mass shooting on campus, bringing a response of hundreds of heavily armed officers who swarmed the campus.
Groups of officers stormed into buildings that had been locked down and cleared hallways as police helicopters hovered overhead.
Advised by university text alerts to turn out the lights and lock the doors where they were, many students let friends and family know they were safe in social media posts. Some described frantic evacuation scenes, while others wrote that their doors weren't locking and posted photos of photocopiers and foosball [table football] tables they used as barricades.
After about two hours, city Police Chief Charlie Beck said it was a murder-suicide and declared the threat over. Two men were dead, and authorities found a gun and what might be a suicide note, he said.
It was the week before final exams at UCLA, whose 43,000 students make it the largest campus in the University of California system.