UCLA Shooting UPDATE: Two People Dead In Murder-Suicide, Police Say

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UCLA shooting
The campus was placed on lockdown Wednesday morning.

 

By MARC TORRENCE

UCLA Shooting UPDATE: Two People Dead In Murder-Suicide, Police Say
The shooting that left two people dead on UCLA’s campus Wednesday morning appears to be a murder-suicide, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said at a press conference.

“At about 10 this morning a homicide and a suicide occurred in the engineering part of the UCLA campus on the south side,” Beck said. “It appears it is entirely contained. We believe there are no suspects outstanding and no continuing threat to UCLA’s campus.”

“There is evidence that there could be a suicide note, but we do not know that at this point,” he added.

The crime scene is a small office inside the engineering building where a gun was found, Beck said. All classes at UCLA have been cancelled for the day.

“Many, many questions are unanswered about this, but I think the important thing for people to take away from this is that the campus is now safe,” Beck said.

“There is no evidence to support outstanding suspects at this point, but we are, out of an abundance of caution, going to continue our search of several of the buildings adjacent to the crime scene.”

UCLA was on lockdown following the shooting at the engineering building on campus. Several law enforcement agencies, including the ATF and LAPD, were on the scene.

The city of Los Angeles was under a citywide tactical alert; Warner Elementary School, Fairburn Elementary School and Emerson Middle School were placed on lockdown as a precaution.

“We are in the process of releasing (UCLA) students from lockdown,” Beck said. “But we need to do so in an orderly fashion in a way that allows us to make sure there are no other participants.”

The shooting was reported to police at 10:03 a.m.

A student on campus who identified herself as Carrie said via text message that she learned about the lockdown via social media.

“All is ok for now,” she said. “Just a bunch of scared students.”

Carrie said most of the students were only hearing reports by word-of-mouth, and updates from the school were sparse. Finals week is next week at UCLA, Carrie told reporters, although some students are taking them early this week.

“My advice would be if you are on campus to shelter in place until law enforcement has advised you otherwise,” Capt. Andy Nieman told NBC News. “So stay away from the campus if you are not there. And if you are on campus, find a secure place. Lock yourself in and standby until you hear from authorities.”

Amid the confusion, some students and faculty members found themselves holed up in rooms without locks and doors that open outward so that they couldn’t be barricaded. Some engineering students quickly rigged a locking system, using belts, rope and furniture to keep themselves safe.
Omar Moreno was in class in the math building across from the engineering building when the shooting occurred.

“I saw a lot of people running away out of the math building. A lot of people were exiting the building in a panic,” he told NBC News. “I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I started running too.”

UCLA is the largest university in California by enrollment numbers.

In 2012, Business Insider used FBI crime data to determine what they called “The Most Dangerous Colleges in America.” UCLA was number one on the list. The magazine said that while crime was down from the year before, things were “still terrible.”

Boelter Hall, where the school is reporting a possible shooting took place, is known as the birthplace of the Internet. The first message sent on ARPANET (the precursor to today’s internet) was sent from the hall in 1969.

Paige Austin, Colin Miner and Alexander Nguyen contributed to this report.

Images via Tom Kosakowski and Pranasha Shrestha