The man suspected of carrying out a murder-suicide at UCLA on Wednesday has been identified by Los Angeles authorities as Mainak Sarkar, a former Ph.D. student who posted a tirade against his victim, William S. Klug, an engineering professor, accusing him of stealing his computer code.
“William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy,” Sarkar wrote on March 10. “He made me really sick. Your enemy is my enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust.”
Klug, a 39-year-old father of two, was an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He was described by his colleagues as a brilliant, kind, and caring man. According to KTLA News, the shooting occurred in a small office in the Engineering IV building around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
The incident left both men dead and sparked a massive multi-agency response during which campus was locked down for three hours and security forces launched a tactical search for evidence and potential threats. Students inside the buildings described tying belts to doors and pushing tables against entrances to secure their classrooms.
According to reporters at ABC News, rumors swirled that there could have been as many as four shooters on campus.
The incident has raised severe security concerns for campus officials. Scott Waugh, an executive vice chancellor and provost at the school, said that officials were troubled by some reports of unlocked doors. “We’ll review the locks on the doors and any security issue that has arisen in the course of today,” Waugh said. The campus recommends students and teachers in the event of an active shooter to stay inside rooms and offices, secure doors, and turn off lights.
Following the violent episode, UCLA announced that scheduled classes would resume as normal on Thursday. Reporters for The Los Angeles Times write that many students returned to their classes rattled. “I have to go back to the same area where the shooting happened tomorrow, I have to go back to the same area where I was in lockdown tomorrow. It’s just not going to feel the same,” Catherine Lowe, a freshman studying biology, said Wednesday. “I can’t focus, I’m supposed to write an essay due on Friday, and I can’t focus on anything right now because I’m in shock.”
Evidently, Sarkar had long-standing grievances against Klug. Authorities now believe that Sarkar had a ‘kill list’ and that he intended to murder two professors, but he found only Klug. Sarkar is also suspected in the murder of a woman in Minnesota whose name was included on the list. Her body was discovered after authorities came to her residence after finding her name on the list in Sarkar’s apartment.
The shooter’s motives were roundly denounced, and some have questioned his psychological stability. Everyone attested to Klug’s standup character.
“Bill was an absolutely wonderful man, just the nicest guy you would ever want to meet,” said 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.”