The former student who killed an engineering professor and then himself in Los Angeles Wednesday has been linked to another apparent murder in Minnesota, more than 3,000 kilometers from the scene of the murder-suicide attack that resulted in a security lockdown and major disruption at the huge main campus of UCLA.
Police said Thursday that authorities who searched gunman Mainak Sarkar's home in the midwestern state of Minnesota found a “kill list” that named his targets: a dead woman, slain UCLA professor William Klug and another professor.
That in turn led police to the unidentified woman's home elsewhere in Minnesota, where her body was discovered.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said the third name on Sarkar's target list, an unidentified man, is "all right," but gave no further details.
Beck, who described Sarkar as mentally disturbed, asked Californians to be on the lookout for the car the gunman used to drive to Los Angeles before the shootings.
Intellectual property as motive?
Sarkar's dispute with Klug, the engineering instructor he killed, reputedly centered on the gunman's belief that the professor had harmed him in some way by releasing intellectual property, possibly computer code.
A website operated by the University of California Los Angeles lists Sarkar as a member of a computational biomechanics research group run by Klug.
One of Klug's academic colleagues at UCLA, Alan Garfinkel, described him as "just the nicest guy you would ever want to meet," and said he coached his young son's baseball team. Garfinkel and Klug worked together on a complex project to build a computer model of the human heart that could be used for drug research.
UCLA, in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, has more than 40,000 students. The shooting on Wednesday, coming one week before students' final exams, brought a massive police response and immediate orders for everyone on campus to stay inside, behind locked doors if possible. News media helicopters hovered overhead for more than two hours, tracking the movements of armed police squads, as the campus and much of central Los Angeles were swept by fears that "an active shooter" was on the loose.
Most classes resumed Thursday, but the engineering department, where Klug was shot in his office, will not reopen until Monday.