LOS ANGELES — Mainak Sarkar murdered his ex-wife Ashley Hasti in Minnesota before killing his former professor, then himself, at the University of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday.
WCCO-TV reports Sarkar and Hasti were married in 2011. Hasti's body was discovered at her home in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota after a note from Sarkar was discovered asking someone to "check on my cat." When police searched Sarkar’s home in Minnesota, they discovered a "kill list," which led them to Hasti's home where she had been dead for “maybe a couple of days,” according to the local police chief.
Another name on the list was UCLA engineering professor William S. Klug, who Sarkar shot and killed before turning the gun on himself. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told reporters that a second professor’s name was on Sarkar’s list and that the doctoral student likely sought to kill him but couldn’t find him. Authorities have not named the professor.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sarkar called Klug a “very sick person” in a since-deleted blog post, writing that he could not be trusted. Klug had been Sarkar’s adviser at the UCLA engineering school and he “expressed gratitude to Klug for his help and support” in a 2013 doctoral dissertation, the newspaper reports.
One of the worst days in UCLA history began when the campus went into lockdown at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday after three gunshots were heard.
Freshman Genesis Ramirez was in English class when her phone and the others around her exploded with text messages from campus police telling everyone to shelter in place.
“We didn’t know what to do and our professor said, ‘It’s probably nothing,’” Ramirez told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
A call from a colleague changed the professor’s mind, and he rushed to lock the doors—but they didn’t obey.
“We were really panicked,” Ramirez said. “We didn’t know what to do.”
Ramirez said students and faculty improvised, in a scene that was repeated across campus.
“The lights went out and people stayed away from the window and stacked chairs against the door to make sure nobody could get in,” she said.
The initial news of the shooting spread across the nation within minutes. All three cable television networks interrupted programming to cover the scene unfolding at UCLA and President Obama was immediately briefed on the situation while he was en route to Indiana on Air Force One.
The news also quickly reached Ramirez’s mother, Martha, who came to campus fearing the worst. The two embraced for several minutes following the end of the lockdown as TV news choppers screamed above.