Police: Minnesota killing preceded UCLA murder-suicide - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Police: Minnesota killing preceded UCLA murder-suicide

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Los Angeles Police officers walk by the Mathematical Sciences Building on the UCLA campus after a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police officers walk by the Mathematical Sciences Building on the UCLA campus after a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles.
This undated photo shows Ashley Hasti, left, and Mainak Sarkar, who police say carried out a murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. This undated photo shows Ashley Hasti, left, and Mainak Sarkar, who police say carried out a murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The path to the campus shooting death of a UCLA professor began nearly 2,000 miles away in Minnesota.

There, a former student with a grudge, Mainak Sarkar, killed his estranged wife.

Sarkar then made the long drive to Los Angeles where he found his former mentor, engineering professor William Klug, and shot him before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Thursday.

Both victims were on a "kill list" police found at Sarkar's Minnesota apartment. A third person on the list, another UCLA professor, was spared because he was not on campus Wednesday when Sarkar arrived with two semi-automatic pistols, police said.

Authorities did not publicly identify the unharmed professor or the woman. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press the woman on the list was Ashley Hasti, who documents show married the gunman in 2011.

The investigation unfolded rapidly based on a note Sarkar left in the office where he killed Klug. It asked anyone who read it to check on Sarkar's cat in St. Paul, Minnesota.

At Sarkar's apartment, authorities found his list of three planned targets. They checked the home of the woman in the nearby town of Brooklyn Park and found her body.

The law enforcement official said Hasti was the name of the woman on Sarkar's list. Beck said the woman named on the list was the victim; and a neighbor told AP that Hasti lived in the home with her father.

The official who said Hasti's name was on the list was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gordy Aune Jr., who lives three doors away and is the neighborhood watch commander, said Hasti and her father kept to themselves.

Records in Hennepin County, Minnesota, show Hasti married Sarkar in 2011, though more recently they had different residences.

Hasti's grandmother, Jean Johnson, said the two remained together for only about a year, but didn't get a divorce because Hasti couldn't afford one.

"They just didn't get along," Johnson told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "The only enemy she had was him, I guess. I never thought he would do something like that."

Hasti hadn't mentioned any recent animosity with Sarkar, she said.

Sarkar had disparaged Klug online and the professor knew of his contempt, but police have not uncovered any death threats, Beck said. The writings contained "some harsh language, but certainly nothing that would be considered homicidal," he said.

A blog post written in March by someone identifying himself as Sarkar asserted that Klug "cleverly stole all my code and gave it (to) another student" and "made me really sick."

Beck said the investigation showed Sarkar's claims of stolen code are "a making of his own imagination."

Sarkar, 38, and Klug, 39, once were close. In his 2013 dissertation about using engineering to understand the human heart, the student thanked the professor "for all his help and support. Thank you for being my mentor."

Sarkar grew up in Durgapur, India, an industrial town where his father worked as a clerk in a cement manufacturing company. Residents there remembered Sarkar as a diligent student.

A former classmate at Durgapur's Bidhan Institute — where Sarkar studied for two years after high school before attending the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur — said he was "totally stupefied" by the news of the shooting.

"Mainak was a very good student. In school, he looked so innocent and was well-behaved," said Mridul, who like many people in India uses only one name. But Mridul said Friday he was not in touch with Sarkar after he left for a life in the United States.

Sarkar's LinkedIn page shows he obtained a master's degree at Stanford University after graduating in 2000 from the Indian Institute of Technology with a degree in aerospace engineering.

He most recently was listed as an engineering analyst at a Findlay, Ohio, company called Endurica. Company president Will Mars said Sarkar left in August 2014.

It's unclear what he had been doing since.

Colleagues, family and friends described Klug as a kind, devoted father and teacher. He is survived by his wife and two children, a 9-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl.

On campus Thursday night, hundreds of students, staff and faculty gathered for a vigil for Klug, holding up their cellphones like candles to light up the night sky.

"Bill was so much more than my soul mate," his wife, Mary Elise Klug, said in a statement. "I will miss him every day for the rest of my life."

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Associated Press writers Robin McDowell in St. Paul, Minnesota; Ashok Sharma in New Delhi; and Manik Banerjee in Kolkata, India, contributed to this report.

This is a Breaking Alert update to the previous story.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police on Thursday identified the man they say carried out a murder-suicide that took the life of an engineering professor at 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 Wednesday, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation but not authorized to publicly discuss it.

Finding the gunman's motive in killing Klug will be foremost in the investigation as it continues Thursday.

Classes at the University of California, Los Angeles campus will resume Thursday for most of the school, and 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 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.

Those locked down inside classrooms described a nervous calm. Some said they had to rig the doors closed with whatever was at hand because they would not lock.

Umar Rehman, 21, was in a math sciences classroom adjacent to Engineering IV, the building where the shooting took place. The buildings are connected by walkway bridges near the center of the 419-acre campus.

"We kept our eye on the door. We knew that somebody eventually could come," he said, acknowledging the terror he felt.

The door would not lock and those in the room devised a plan to hold it closed using a belt and crowbar, and demand ID from anyone who tried to get in.

Scott Waugh, an executive vice chancellor and provost, said the university would look into concerns about doors that would not lock.

One student who spent hours sheltering in a building did the same thing almost exactly two years ago when he was locked down in a dorm at UC Santa Barbara during a shooting rampage in the surrounding neighborhood that left six students dead and wounded 13 people.

Jeremy Peschard, 21, said it was "scary" and "eerily similar" but also that having been through the feeling of crisis before left him almost numb.

"I just felt a little bit less shocked, a little bit less taken aback by the reality of an active shooter on a college campus," he told The Associated Press in an email. "Because I feel like this is the day and age we're living in, that college campus shootings have genuinely become a normalized threat, almost like a natural disaster, except this type of destruction isn't natural. It's just really sad."

UCLA's commencement ceremonies and end-of-year events will now include mourning Klug, who was a devout Christian and a regular figure in organizing campus spiritual life.

In 2012, according to the campus website, he moderated a forum that his family and friends might find useful now. Its title: "Does God Care?: Seeking the Meaning of Life in the Midst of Suffering and Death."

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Associated Press writers Christopher Weber, Robert Jablon, Justin Pritchard and John Antczak in Los Angeles, Alina Hartounian in Phoenix, and Amy Taxin in Tustin, California, contributed to this report.

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