Woman on UCLA Shooter's 'Kill List' Found Dead in Minnesota: Police - NBC Southern California

A murder-suicide at UCLA leads to a campus-wide lockdown

Woman on UCLA Shooter's 'Kill List' Found Dead in Minnesota: Police

The gunman, identified as Mainak Sarkar, wrote a blog post calling slain Prof. William Klug a "sick person," sources said

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    Woman on UCLA Shooter's Kill List Found Dead in Minnesota

    The gunman, identified as Mainak Sarkar, wrote a blog post calling slain Prof. William Klug a "sick person," sources said. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, 2016. (Published Thursday, June 2, 2016)

    A former doctoral student who shot and killed a UCLA professor, leading to a daylong campus lockdown, had a "kill list" that included the names of the teacher and another victim, who was found dead Thursday morning in Minnesota, authorities said.

    The victim in Minnesota was his estranged wife, her uncle told NBC News Thursday. 

    Police identified the gunman as Mainak Sarkar, 38, who apparently had a strained relationship with Professor William Klug. Sarkar believed Klug had stolen his computer code, law enforcement sources told NBC News.

    Sarkar detailed his grievance in two blog posts about Klug, most recently on March 10, sources told NBC News. 

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

    In the post, Sarkar identified himself as a former Ph.D. student of Klug's and said the two had "personal differences."

    "He cleverly stole all my code and gave it to another student. He made me really sick," Sarkar allegedly wrote. "Your enemy is your enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust."

    LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a news conference Thursday police believe the blog to be Sarkar's but have not been able to verify it.

    Ashley Hasti's uncle identified her as the victim in Minnesota, NBC News reported.

    Hasti and Sarkar were married in June 2011. A medical student, Hasti graduated with her bachelor's degree in 2008 from the University of Minnesota.

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    Beck said information was recovered at the shooter's Minnesota residence that led authorities to believe Sarkar is linked to Hasti's death.

    The names of Hasti, Klug's and a third individual — another UCLA professor — were on a "kill list" found at the shooter's home, police said.

    Chief Charlie Beck did not identify the other professor, but said he is unharmed and safe.

    Beck said detectives had spoken to UCLA officials about Sarkar's stolen code assertion, and concluded it was unfounded.

    "This was a making of his own imagination," Beck said.

    The code in question was developed as part of a major, multi-year, multi-discipinary collaborative research project to develop a computer simulation of the human heart -- a "virtual heart" -- said Alan Garfinkel, professor of integrative biology and physiology.

    Garfinkel and Klug were among the collaborators, and Sarkar, then Klug's doctoral student, worked under them on the project, according to Garfinkel.

    During a phone interview with NBC4, Garfinkel acknowledged an issue arose at one point, but declined to discuss the specifics. He said he had not had any contact with Sarkar since he received his Ph.D. in 2013 and moved away and into the workforce.

    "If you had asked me two days ago, I would have said there's no issue here, guy's gone, it was happily resolved," Garfinkel said.

    Thursday, Garfinkel met at length with detectives. He declined to say if he is the other professor on Sarkar's "kill list." Garfinkel said he was on campus Wednesday, but not in his office.

    Garfinkel expressed his admiration for Klug, both as a scientist and as a friend, describing him as "huge-hearted, a sweet and kind man," and was stunned that Klug had been targeted.

    Web postings to the effect that Sarkar had been mistreated by faculty and had his PhD unnecesssarily delayed are not true, Garfinkel said, citing his desire to set the record straight when he agreed to speak with NBC4.

    Investigators believe Sarkar had traveled to UCLA with the intent of killing both professors on the list.

    "He went to kill two professors, but could find only one," Beck said Thursday at a midmorning news briefing at LAPD headquarters.

    "He was certainly prepared to engage multiple victims," Beck said of Sarkar, who was armed with two semiautomatic pistols, multiple magazines and several rounds of ammunition.

    Police found a note near the bodies of Klug and Sarkar, asking the reader to check on Sarkar's cat in Minneapolis, Beck said. Investigators searching his Minneapolis residence found the "kill list," which led them to Hasti's home in neighboring Brooklyn Park.

    Hasti was found dead of a gunshot wound early Thursday. Police believe Sarkar killed her prior to the UCLA murder-suicide, then traveled to Los Angeles in a gray 2003 Nissan Sentra, according to Beck.  

    Sarkar studied at Stanford University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, according to his LinkedIn page, before enrolling at UCLA. Sarkar came to the U.S. in 2001 on a foreign student visa to pursue graduate studies, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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    The department's electronic records show he obtained three student visas between 2001 and 2008 to engage in masters and doctoral programs in the U.S. and was granted permanent residence in May 2014.

    The search continued Thursday for the Nissan Sentra, which has Minnesota license plates 720 KTW. The vehicle might contain evidence to help investigators establish a motive for the slayings, Beck said.

    Sarkar is suspected of shooting and killing Klug — a 39-year-old father of two and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering from El Segundo — in an engineering building at UCLA. Their bodies were found together in an office with a gun nearby, Beck said. 

    The shooting led to a SWAT search and a daylong campus closure, with panicked students seeking a safe place to hide. No one else was hurt.

    Police initially received reports of an active shooter on the Westwood campus, which has an undergraduate enrollment of around 43,000 students, prompting a campus-wide lockdown and massive law enforcement response.

    About two hours later, students learned the shooting had been a murder-suicide and police said there was no threat to the campus.

    Photo credit: NBC

    "I'm just outraged," said Renjie Li, who took a class from Klug. "I'm mad that someone would do that to a young professor who just started his career at UCLA. It’s just a shame."

    According to his biography on the UCLA website, Klug received his Ph.D. from Caltech in 2003, his master’s of science from UCLA in 1999 and his bachelor’s from Westmont College in 1998. Klug also led the Klug Research Group in Computational Biomechanics at UCLA.

    Classes resumed Thursday ahead of next week's final exams. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Thursday night at UCLA.

    Klug's wife, Mary Elise Klug, issued a statement through UCLA Thursday evening:

    "During this extremely difficult time for our family, we are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support. This is an indescribable loss. Bill was so much more than my soulmate. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. Knowing that so many others share our family’s sorrow has provided a measure of comfort.

    "That said, we are a very private family, and we need time to heal and recover from this senseless tragedy. At this time, we ask the media to please respect our family’s privacy in and around our home, school and local community during the days and weeks ahead, especially for the sake of my children."

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