UCLA mourns tragic shooting on campus

Students and community members hold up LED lights at vigil for Professor William Klug. (photo by Reed Hutchinson)

Two men died June 1 in an apparent murder-suicide in the Engineering IV building at UCLA. The shootings caused a campus-wide lockdown and resulted in canceled classes and evening activities.

“Our hearts are heavy this evening as our campus family mourns the sudden and tragic deaths of two people on our campus earlier today,” said Chancellor Gene Block in an email to the entire UCLA community. “The thoughts and prayers of our entire UCLA family are with the victims’ families and the students, faculty and staff of UCLA Engineering.

“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.”

The names of the adult males who were found shot in the engineering building have not been released. The deaths are under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

UCLA is providing counselors for students, faculty and staff. Students have been instructed to contact CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) while faculty and staff can avail themselves of the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center. See below for further details.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh said that classes, except in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, would resume Thursday morning and that the incident would not affect final examinations, which begin next week, or commencement ceremonies. 

“We want to resume normal operations as quickly as possible so we will resume scheduled classes tomorrow morning,” Waugh said. “Faculty, staff and students should show up tomorrow and go through their regular routines and complete the quarter as planned.”

Engineering classes would be canceled for the rest of the week, Waugh said. “Obviously there’s a lot of very distressed students, faculty and staff. And our goal within the school is to heal those wounds and make sure that they feel comfortable with the situation before resuming normal activities.”

Following reports of the shooting, which occurred around 10 a.m., UCLA officials placed the campus on lockdown and alerted everyone to shelter in place.

“We immediately put out a Bruin alert — that’s our campus alert notification system to advise all of those in our campus community of an incident that occurred that could be dangerous to them,” UCLA Police Chief James Herren during a press conference. “And we requested them to stay out of the area.”

Herren said that hundreds of law enforcement authorities responded to the shooting, including police officers from UCLA, the Los Angeles Police Department and Santa Monica College along with agents from the FBI and ATF. Los Angeles city firefighters also responded to the reports of a shooter on campus.

“It is something that we have trained to do,” Herren said. “So when our officers arrived on scene they immediately began putting teams together that are considered rescue teams to help those who have been injured and also search teams to look for suspects who may be in the area.”

By 12:05 p.m., LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had declared that the campus was safe and the lockdown was lifted. Shortly after, the BruinAlert system sent an all-clear message to the campus community via email and text message.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by what appears to have been a murder-suicide on the campus of UCLA,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement issued in the afternoon. “This horrific event, at an institution dedicated to learning and mutual understanding, reminds us once again of the fragility of a peaceful society. Thankfully, the campus is now safe — but I am heartbroken by the sight of SWAT teams running down avenues normally filled with students, and angered by the fear that one person with a firearm can inflict on a community. I want to commend the entire UCLA community for its extraordinary grace and calm on a traumatic morning.”

Waugh, UCLA’s provost, praised local law enforcement for its cooperation and timeliness.

“I also want to thank all the law enforcement agencies of Southern California who reacted so quickly to help secure the scene and help us prevent further damage to the campus,” said Waugh, adding that that in the wake of the tragedy, UCLA officials will continue to examine all its procedures that relate to an active shooting, specifically about the security of individual rooms.

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