Gunman in murder-suicide at UCLA identified as Mainak Sarkar

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The UCLA campus will reopen Thursday and counseling will be offered to students and faculty following a day-long closure prompted by the slaying of a professor at the School of Engineering, apparently by a graduate student, who then shot himself to death.

The gunman was Mainak Sarkar, news media sources reported. Sarkar was a Ph.D student and a current member of the Klug Research Group; Computational Biomechanics, at UCLA, according to a Klug Research Group publication.

The murder victim was identified by students and colleagues as 39-year-old William Scott Klug of El Segundo, a father of two and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Colleagues told the Los Angeles Times that Klug was both brilliant and kind.

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 amid fears of an active shooter on the Westside campus.

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."

The initial reports of a shooting prompted the university to send a "Bruin Alert'' to all students and staff notifying them to avoid the area or shelter in place. Via social media, some students reported hunkering down in restrooms or classrooms, unsure of there was an active shooter wandering the building.

Photos posted on social media sites showed students using metal furniture, tables, belts -- anything they could find -- to secure doors because they did not lock from the inside.

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.

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.

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.

President Barack Obama was briefed aboard Air Force One about the UCLA shooting, according to the White House.

Fairburn and Warner elementary schools and Emerson Middle School, all of which are located near UCLA, were placed on lockdown during the investigation, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Those schools returned to normal operations shortly after noon.

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, with more than $5,000 raised in the first two hours.

Donations to the Klug family memorial fund can be made at:

UCLA is making counseling services available to students, faculty and staff. Personnel are available now to offer assistance to students in the office of Counseling and Psychological Services or at the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center.

Students can come together this afternoon and evening at the following designated healing spaces: Hedrick Lounge at 3:30 p.m., De Neve Plaza Room at 3:30 p.m., CAPS Large Conference Room at 5:00 p.m., Sproul Lecture Room at 7:00 p.m.

The Staff and Faculty Counseling Center in suite 380 of the Wilshire Building, 10920 Wilshire Boulevard, will remain open tonight until 10 p.m. It will be open on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. For information or appointments call 310-794-0245. 

Faculty and staff can also attend debriefings with counselors at the following times and locations:

Luskin School of Public Affairs 2343 11 a.m-3 p.m.
Moore Hall 100 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Luskin School of Public Affairs 2343 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Math Sciences 3915A 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

UCLA's Undergraduate Students Association Council also posted an announcement of a candlelight vigil on Thursday to their Facebook page

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