Police said Thursday that the gunman who killed his former professor at the University of California at Los Angeles before taking his own life had a “kill list” with other names, including that of a woman who was found dead in Minnesota.
The gunman – Mainak Sarkar, 38 – apparently had a grudge against the professor, which prompted him to drive to California from his home in Minnesota with two handguns and extra ammunition, said Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Sarkar had graduated with a doctorate from UCLA’s engineering school in 2013, Beck said, and eventually moved to Minnesota.
When authorities went to Sarkar’s home there, they found “a note with names on it, indicating a ‘kill list,'” Beck said in an interview Thursday morning on KTLA.
William Klug, 39, a professor in UCLA’s engineering department, was named on that list, Beck said. Another UCLA professor was also on the list, but that professor was not harmed, Beck said.
This list also included the name of a woman in Minnesota. The LAPD contacted police in Brooklyn Park, Minn., a city outside Minneapolis, and asked them to go to the home. When officers traveled at the house just after midnight, they found the woman dead with a gunshot wound.
Authorities have not released her name, and Beck said he could not immediately elaborate on the woman’s possible relationship with Sarkar.
“We’re trying to coordinate our efforts between Minnesota and California with this investigation, which is very complex,” Mark Bruley, deputy chief of the Brooklyn Park police, said during a news conference.
The shooting at UCLA locked down the campus for two hours on Wednesday morning, prompting a massive law enforcement response and forcing students to hide in rooms amid fears of an active shooter.
Beck said that police were still working on finding a possible motivation for the shooting.
“Everybody tries to look for a good reason for this,” Beck said. “There is no good reason for this. This is a mental issue, mental derangement.”
Beck said, however, that the shooting appeared to be “tied to a dispute over intellectual property.” Sarkar apparently felt that Klug had released some kind of information that harmed him, Beck said. But Beck added that school officials called this “absolutely not true and this is the workings of his imagination.”
UCLA officials said they could not confirm whether there was a dispute or if Sarkar, who attended the school between 2007 and 2013, had been flagged as a potential concern during his time there.
Social media postings by Sarkar showed him “bashing” the professor, Beck added.
According to police, Sarkar arrived on the UCLA campus Wednesday with two guns as well as multiple rounds of ammunition and extra magazines. Beck said the guns Sarkar brought to Los Angeles appeared to be legally purchased.
Sarkar then went to the fourth floor office of Klug, his former professor, and fatally shot him “with multiple rounds” before taking his own life, Beck said. A note left at the scene led police to Sarkar’s home in Minnesota, where they found more ammunition and the “kill list.”
A colleague on the faculty described Klug as sweet, gentle and good-hearted. Klug led the team that created a virtual heart, a supercomputer model realistic enough to test drugs and devices. Klug was doing research on developing drug strategies to treat a common and deadly type of heart disease and the mechanics of the heart.
In 1997, Klug graduated from Westmont College, a liberal arts school in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics. Westmont President Gayle D. Beebe said in a statement Thursday that Klug was remembered “as a gentle, kind person without a trace of arrogance.” Klug’s wife, Mary Elise, also went to Westmont, according to Beebe.
“I was a teaching assistant at Westmont and held help sessions for students. Mary Elise often sat in on them and told me I should be a teacher,” Klug said in a Westmont magazine alumni profile. “She kept talking about it.”
Klug went on to get his doctorate in mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology in 2004.
UCLA students planned a memorial Thursday evening for Klug, a husband and father who had spent several years volunteering with a local little league.
The Los Angeles campus, which has 43,000 students, was locked down on Wednesday morning after there were reports of gunshots at about 10 a.m. While hundreds of local and federal law enforcement officials rushed to the scene, students, professors and staff barricaded doors, prepared for the possibility of violence after countless other shootings and threats of violence at the nation’s schools and colleges.
The campus was locked down for about two hours before it was declared safe. Some UCLA students were still in class this week as the semester is wrapping up, with the main commencement scheduled for June 10.
Because students were in rooms without locks during the lockdown, some had to barricade their doors.
At one point, “a SWAT team was running down the hallway, telling everyone to lock their doors,” said Christine Zhang, a student in a graduate engineering class. “But UCLA doors don’t really have a lock. So we had to kind of improvise.”
Scott Waugh, the executive vice chancellor and provost, said the university would review its active-shooter protocols in the wake of the shooting.
“We’ve heard all kinds of reports and we want to look at each one of them and make sure that the campus is as secure as possible, make sure that students and faculty and staff will be safe in the locations that they have, so yes, we will review everything very, very thoroughly,” Waugh said Wednesday.