Thursday 8 December 2016

Two people shot dead in murder-suicide as US university goes into lockdown

Published 01/06/2016 | 18:38

In this image made from video, police respond to a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
In this image made from video, police respond to a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Sheriff deputies work at the scene of a fatal shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Local media is covering the story
A still taken of police officers surrounding the building

At least two people were shot dead at the University of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday, police and campus officials have confirmed.

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The incident happened this morning at 10am at the Engineering building in the UCLA campus, drawing a phalanx of police cruisers to the scene and prompting officials to lock down the campus.

“Two people were shot,” said University spokesman Tod Tamberg.

Police later revealed that it was the two deaths were a "murders-suicide"

Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles

A homicide and a suicide occurred," Los Angles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters near the scene.

"It appears to be entirely contained," he said.

An alert from the university warned students to stay indoors.

"Go to a secure location and deny entry (lockdown) now!" the university wrote in the message to students.

Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles
Police work at the scene of a shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Los Angeles

UCLA college newspaper The Daily Bruin reported that the shooter was a white male of around six foot, wearing a black jacket and black trousers, according to police.

Witness Sean Lynch, whose father is a professor who works in the engineering building, told the Los Angeles Times he was sending his father texts as the shots went off.

Mr Lynch said he heard three shots.

"Police are investigating a shooting in Engineering IV. Police are on the scene and report that there are two victims," UCLA's office of media relations said in an online posting, referring to a building that is part of UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

A still taken of police officers surrounding the building
A still taken of police officers surrounding the building

"The campus remains on lockdown."

"Right now the police are at the scene and the campus is on lockdown," said an office manager in the university's media relations division.

The university has more than 43,000 enrolled students, according to its website.

Bioengineering student Bahjat Alirani said police were yelling at people to run from the scene.

"I was in Boelter Hall to take a final and I exit the staircase to see SWAT-looking police yelling at everyone to evacuate immediately," Alirani told Reuters. "I check my email and BruinAlert had immediately sent an email to all students notifying them of a shooter in the engineering building."

UCLA is in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and one of the more well-regarded schools in the University of California system, known for its successful sports program.

Aerial video of the campus showed police and emergency responders surrounding the building.

Mehwish Khan, a 21-year-old psychobiology student, took cover in the library along with several other students.

"The whole campus just started running and I started running too," she said in a live broadcast.

"Everyone was very confused. We got in a building, and no one knew what was going on," she said.

As she spoke by phone, she started hearing helicopters hovering overhead.

"A lot of people thought it was a joke or a drill," she said.

Helicopter news footage showed students walking out in a line with their hands above their head, as armed police officers scoured the campus.

Many students posted to social media, many to let friends and family know they were safe.

Some described frantic evacuation scenes and a large police response, others wrote of sitting in darkened rooms after barricading doors.

The focus of police activity was a cluster of engineering buildings near the centre of a campus that occupies 419 acres in Los Angeles.

Bioengineering professor Denise Aberle said she could see "a lot of police activity with innumerable cars" and a police helicopter hovering over the engineering building.

"Police keep coming," she said.

 The city of Los Angeles was placed on a tactical alert citywide, which means officials can allocate resources based on need, Los Angeles Police Captain Andrew Neiman told reporters near the scene.

There were no reports of bombs or other devices, Neiman said.

Police received multiple calls of shots fired around 10 a.m. (1700 GMT), triggering an immediate search for suspects and victims by LAPD and campus police, officials said.

Erica Roberts, a sophomore economics major from Rockville, Maryland, said she took shelter inside the student health center about 10 minutes after she had arrived for work there.

"Everyone is really on edge and contacting loved ones to let them know we are safe," she said in a telephone interview. "I'm trying to stay in contact with all my friends on campus to make sure they are OK. Everyone is just terrified."

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