The gunman who is believed to have conducted a murder-suicide Wednesday at the University of California, Los Angeles, left a “kill list” at his Minnesota home that led police to find a woman’s body, according to police.
Mainak Sarkar, 38, apparently had expected to die during his attack at UCLA, asking in a note found on his body for someone to check on the well-being of his cat, police said Thursday.
Investigators who searched his home in St. Paul, Minnesota, are still working Thursday to understand what motivated the 2013 UCLA graduate to take the lives of a young Minnesota woman and a college professor before turning a gun on himself.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Sarkar was “heavily armed” with two handguns and extra ammunition when he shot and killed UCLA professor William Klug and then himself Wednesday inside a small office in the school’s engineering building. Sarkar also apparently had intended to target a second professor whose name was on the kill list but who was not on the campus that morning.
Police said it was unclear whether Sarkar meant to escalate the violence, but noted he had the means to do so.
“He had enough rounds of ammunition on him, he could have caused a lot more fatalities,” Chief Beck said at a news conference.
The note found on Sarkar contained comments about the surviving professor, as well as Sarkar’s address and asked whoever found the note to “check on the cat that resided there.”
Mr. Klug previously had served as a mentor to Sarkar, but in recent months the former graduate student had come to harbor a grudge against the mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, accusing him of stealing his computer code and giving it to someone else, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy,” Sarkar wrote in a blog post on March 10. “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.”
Investigators have discussed the accusations with UCLA officials and determined there was no truth to Sarkar’s statements.
“This was a making of his imagination,” Chief Beck said.
Both professors apparently were aware of the allegations Sarkar had made, but Chief Beck said that they had not felt threatened, and a review of Sarkar’s social media postings had not turned up any death threats.
“Sarkar had issues with his professors that were known to them, but I don’t think that is a cause for someone to believe they are going to be a homicide target,” the chief said.
It was unclear why the Minnesota woman was targeted or when she was killed. Authorities have yet to release her identity, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing neighbors, reported Thursday that the woman was 31-year-old Ashley Hasti.
Police said Sarkar drove from Minnesota to Los Angeles to carry out the UCLA shooting, and likely had been in Southern California for only a few days.
Investigators are still looking for the car he traveled in, a 2003 gray Nissan Sentra with a Minnesota license plate 720 KTW.
“We believe that vehicle may contain evidence that will help us to establish motive and help us to put some pieces together in this case,” Chief Beck said.