A former University of California graduate student killed his estranged wife in Minnesota before carrying two semi-automatic pistols and a grudge back to Los Angeles, where he gunned down a young professor he once called a mentor before killing himself.
The two victims were on a ‘kill list’ that Mainak Sarkar had composed, as well as a second professor authorities believe he intended to kill but could not find on the bustling Los Angeles campus, police chief Charlie Beck said.
Authorities did not identify the unharmed professor or the woman, but a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said the woman on the list was Ashley Hasti.
Ms Hasti’s grandmother, Jean Johnson, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that her grand-daughter and Sarkar split up about a year after they married in 2011, and Ms Hasti moved back to her home town of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
The two did not divorce because Ms Hasti could not afford one, Ms Johnson said.
“They just didn’t get along. The only enemy she had was him, I guess. I never thought he would do something like that,” she said.
Ms Hasti was a medical student at the University of Minnesota and expected to graduate in spring, Ms Johnson said.
She said Ms Hasti had not mentioned any animosity with Sarkar since they parted. Authorities pieced together the case as most classes resumed a day after thousands of students and staff members were locked down on the sprawling grounds of UCLA.
Its normally tranquil paths and hallways were filled by a small army of officers clad in body armour and wielding high-powered rifles.
The investigation unfolded rapidly based on a note Sarkar left in the office where he killed professor William Klug on Wednesday.
It mentioned the second professor, who also belonged to UCLA’s engineering faculty, and asked anyone who read it to check on Sarkar’s cat in St Paul, Minnesota.
At Sarkar’s apartment, authorities found his list of three planned targets. They checked the home of the woman in the nearby town of Brooklyn Park and found her body.
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