LOS ANGELES — A shooting that left two men dead at UCLA on Wednesday and led to a massive response on the campus in a bustling part of Los Angeles was a murder-suicide, authorities said.
Police Chief Charlie Beck declared the campus clear about two hours after authorities received a 911 call. The shooting happened in a small office in an engineering building called Boelter Hall, and a gun was found along with what might be a suicide note, he said. No names have been released.
Hundreds of officers from multiple federal and local agencies swarmed the campus, which had been placed on lockdown. Teams in tactical gear looking for victims and suspects ran across campus, some with weapons drawn, and stormed into buildings. People emerged from buildings with their hands raised or behind their heads.
The shooting occurred the week before final exams at UCLA, a major campus of the University of California system with about 43,000 students.
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 that their doors weren’t locking and posted photos of items like photocopiers and foosball tables pushed up against them.
The focus of police activity was a cluster of engineering buildings near the center of a campus that occupies 419 acres in Los Angeles. At a mathematical sciences building near Boelter Hall, SWAT officers with guns drawn cleared occupants who emerged one by one.
One man walked out with his hands up and was told to get on his knees. An armed officer searched him and his backpack, then sent him on his way with his hands still in the air.
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.
According to student-run newspaper, the Daily Bruin, the gunman is “described as a white male about 6 feet tall,” the paper wrote on its Twitter feed.
The paper also reported that administrators had asked many professors to cancel classes and that students were being alert to the incident by email.
Rafi Sands, vice president of UCLA’s student government, told the Los Angeles times that he and about 30 other students used their belts to secure their classroom door after news of the shooter spread.
Sands, 20, of Oakland, said several different accounts of the shooting are funneling across campus through text messages and social media, and it took several minutes for the campus community to realize the seriousness of the situation.
“We get a lot of Bruin Alerts for small things,” he said. “It took a while for everyone to realize this is serious.”
Police respond to a report of a possible shooter at the University of California, Los Angeles, June 1, 2016. (KABC-7 via AP)
Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers, Christine Armario and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix contributed to this report.