UC Berkeley police shot a man carrying a gun in the Haas School of Business Tuesday afternoon. The suspect, described as a white male around 5' 8" tall in his 20s, was taken to Highland Hospital. No bystanders or police were injured and officials say there is no known connection to the Occupy Cal protests. No further details about the suspect have been released.
According to UC Berkeley Police Chief Mitch Celaya, a staff member riding the elevator spotted the gun in the man's backpack. After the man got off the elevator on the third floor, the witness notified her supervisor, who called 911 at 2:17 p.m. Three UCPD officers arrived at the third floor computer room at 2:19 p.m., where they found the suspect. At least four other students were in the room, according to police. Upon being approached by officers, the man pulled a gun from his backpack and “displayed it in a threatening manner," according to Celaya.
Haas School of Business spokesman Lyle Nevels said he was working on the fifth floor when he heard something was happening and headed downstairs to the computer lab, where he saw the suspect sitting at a computer terminal. Nevels said the man "didn't look out of place." It is not yet clear if anyone in the computer room knew the suspect, said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau during a 4 p.m. press conference.
According to witnesses, students dropped to the floor when police arrived and the suspect pulled the gun out of his backpack. Police told the suspect at least three times to "drop the gun," according to Celaya, before one officer, "fearing for his life," opened fire.
"It appeared the students' lives might be at risk," said Celaya.
The Haas School of Business building was evacuated and closed for a few hours while police conducted a crime scene investigation.
Birgeneau called the shooting "extraordinarily upsetting." Meanwhile, the Occupy Cal protest on campus has been peaceful, he said.
The Haas School of Business sent an email update early Tuesday evening, notifying the community of a meeting planned for Wednesday morning to provide updates on the shooting. The email read:
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
As you may know, there was a shooting in the Haas computing lab earlier this afternoon. All of our community is safe. We do not currently know the identity of the suspect, who was taken into police custody.
We evacuated all buildings, sent students, staff and faculty home, and cancelled all day and evening classes for the rest of the day. Our buildings, with the exception of the computer lab, have now re-opened and you may enter to gather your belongings. Belongings left behind during the evacuation can be picked up at lost and found in the Haas mailroom S545.
We will gather as a community in the Bank of America Forum tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. Dean Lyons, senior members of the Haas community and counselors from the Tang Center will provide updated information and answer questions. Other than that, we will be open for business as usual tomorrow morning, and all classes will be held as scheduled.
Counselors from the Tang Center will be available and on site throughout the day tomorrow. Counseling and Psychological Services for Students are available 24/7 at 642-9494; Care Services for Faculty and Staff are available at 643-7754. Make sure you connect with friends and family so you get the support you need tonight.
The safety of the entire Haas community is of paramount importance to us. We will be discussing ways that we can enhance security while retaining our unique Haas culture and identity.
Rich Lyons, Dean
Andrew Rose, Assoc. Dean of Academic Affairs
Jennifer Chizuk, COO / Sr. Asst. Dean
Jay Stowsky, Sr. Asst. Dean of Instruction