A former student who shot dead a California professor before turning the gun on himself had drawn up a "kill list" that included a woman found dead at her home in Minnesota, police said on Thursday (Jun 2).
Mainak Sarkar, 38, entered a small office in the engineering building at the sprawling University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) early Wednesday and shot William Klug, 39, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, before taking his own life, authorities said.
Los Angeles police said a search of Sarkar's home in Minnesota had turned up a "kill list" that named Klug as well as another UCLA professor who was not harmed.
Police spokeswoman Jane Kim said that a woman's name was also on the hit list, prompting police to go to her home in Brooklyn Park, a small town in the midwestern state of Minnesota, where she was found dead from a gunshot wound.
The woman has not been identified but there were unconfirmed reports that she was a doctor and Sarkar's ex-girlfriend. Brooklyn Park deputy police chief Mark Bruley told reporters that the woman was killed before the UCLA shooting.
Authorities said Sarkar is believed to have driven from Minnesota to Los Angeles to seek revenge and a search was underway for his car, a 2003 Nissan Sentra.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Sarkar, a former graduate student at UCLA, believed Klug had stolen his computer code and had given it to someone else.
The murder-suicide prompted a lockdown and a massive security deployment at the university, amid fears of a mass shooting.
The university was shut down for the day but reopened on Thursday and a vigil was planned later in the day to honour Klug.
Students and staff affected by the shooting were also being offered counseling.
The Times quoted a source as saying that Sarkar's claims against Klug were "absolutely untrue" and described the victim, a father of two, as a gentle man.
The source said Klug had gone out of his way to help Sarkar finish his dissertation and to graduate, even though his work was subpar.
In his doctoral dissertation, submitted in 2013, Sarkar thanked Klug for his help and support. But he apparently developed a grudge against his former mentor, and offered scathing criticism of Klug in a now-deleted blog post on Mar 10.
"William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor," he wrote in the post quoted by various media before it was deleted. "He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy..."
According to his LinkedIn page, Sarkar got his master's degree from Stanford university and also studied aerospace engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, from where he graduated in 2000. He then apparently worked as a research assistant at the University of Texas in 2003 and then took on a job as a software developer.