Tragedy at UCLA


#UCLAstrong (Photo courtesy of Tumblr)

This past Wednesday, June 1st, tragedy struck UCLA as a campus shooting took the life of well-loved mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, William Klug.


The Los Angeles Police Department received a call about the shooting at around 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, and officials immediately put the campus on lockdown as authorities investigated. SWAT officers, along with dozens of squad cars, quickly filled the area as police tried to clear the campus buildings floor by floor. The shooting occurred in the Engineering IV building, and students and faculty rushed to barricade the doors of their classrooms. Photos emerged of doors being barricaded with anything around them possible, including printers and even belts.


Police were able to contain the situation by around noon and declared that the situation was a murder-suicide. The shooter was Mainak Sarkar, a former UCLA student, who was found dead as well. Sarkar graduated in 2013 with a Ph.D. in engineering and was part of a research group headed by Klug at UCLA. According to several sources, Sarkar stated that he felt that the professor had released information that “harmed him.” Klug’s wife, Mary Elise Klug, issued a statement on Thursday, thanking the public for its support and requesting privacy.


By Sardar’s body, officers found a suicide note telling whomever found the letter to check up on his cat in his home in Minnesota. After a thorough search of the residence, officers found a kill list with three names on it. Sarkar stated in his letter that he also intended to kill another professor at UCLA. The third person on his list was his estranged wife, Ashley Hasti, whose body was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at 1:25 A.M. on Thursday. She was found dead in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis. According to her sister, Alex Hasti, Ashley was “the smartest, coolest, and funniest person I knew. She could do anything she dreamed of whether it was studying abroad in four different countries, acting in school plays, trying stand up comedy and improv, and becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, she won’t get to see that last dream come true as her life was cut short much too soon by her estranged husband.”


When asked about the events that ensued, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, in a statement to the campus, described Klug as a “respected, dedicated and caring faculty member.” He continued to state that “Our entire UCLA family is mourning. Though the path to healing is long, we will make the journey together.  Let us remember and be grateful for the wonderful gifts and talents professor Klug shared with us” (CNN).


Classes for the remainder of that day were cancelled, but campus life resumed the following day. Finals will still occur this week. When asked about how she felt during this day, senior Kaila Labrador (12), who has a sister who attends UCLA, states that “I was terrified, but was glad to hear that my sister was okay. I hope we can prevent school shootings like this from occurring again in the future.”