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What We Know So Far About the UCLA Shooter and His Kill List

Cops say the shooter was 38-year-old Mainak Sarkar, a former PhD student who's also suspected of killing a woman in the Midwest.

by Brian McManus
Jun 2 2016, 7:30pm

Students and faculty members are escorted by a police officer from the scene of a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The man who shot and killed a UCLA professor Wednesday before taking his own life has been identified by police as Mainak Sarkar, a former doctoral student at the school who was recently living in Minnesota, where he's believed to have killed a woman prior to the campus incident.

On Thursday, police revealed Sarkar kept a "kill list" that included the names of the slain professor, the woman in his home state, and at least one other UCLA prof who was unharmed, as the LA Times reports.

Sarkar had once thanked William Klug, the 39-year-old associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering he shot multiple times Wednesday, for being his "mentor" in his 2013 dissertation. But in recent months Sarkar had gone on a social media tirade about the professor, accusing him of stealing his coding work.

"William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor," the killer wrote. "He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy. 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."

A UCLA source told the paper these accusations were "absolutely untrue" and "psychotic."

Sarkar, 38, was a resident of Minnesota, where the deceased woman's body was found in a small town, apparently dead from a gunshot wound, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday. The last name on the list was that of a second UCLA professor who also taught Sarkar. The professor has been contacted and "is fine," according to the chief, though cops believe Sarkar intended to kill her Wednesday, too.

The Minnesota woman's connection to the killer remains unclear. But police suspect Sarkar drove from Minnesota to California in a gray Nissan Sentra after her death, armed with two semiautomatic handguns and multiple magazines in a backpack. Investigators are still searching for the vehicle, and advise anyone who believes to have spotted it to call in the tip.

Adding another macabre note to the tragedy, Beck told the press Sarkar left a note at the crime scene on the UCLA campus, asking that someone check on his cat back home in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, students and colleagues of Klug's were thunderstruck by his senseless murder, overwhelmingly painting him as a kind, caring, and brilliant man. "I am absolutely devastated," colleague Alan Garfinkel, a professor of integrative biology and physiology told the LA Times. "You cannot ask for a nicer, gentler, sweeter, and more supportive guy than William Klug."

Garfinkel had worked with Klug to develop a computer-generated virtual heart. Klug was a father of two who coached little league and loved going to Dodgers games. At UCLA, he studied the interaction between mechanics and biology.

"Our hearts are heavy this evening," Chancellor Gene Block wrote in an email Wednesday. "Our campus family mourns the sudden and tragic deaths of two people on our campus earlier today. Our UCLA family has indeed been shaken, but we will rely upon the strong bonds of our community and our faith in one another as we begin the process of healing."

A senior class dinner at the engineering school had been scheduled for Thursday night. And though classes on the school's main campus have resumed, they won't begin again at the engineering school until Monday, UCLA officials said.

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