Officials: Gunman shot by UC Berkeley police dead
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — An undergraduate student shot by campus police after brandishing a loaded gun inside a University of California, Berkeley computer lab died at a hospital hours after the confrontation, a university spokesman said Wednesday.
Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, 32, had just started his first semester at Berkeley after transferring from another school, and had been attending classes at the prestigious Haas School of Business, spokesman Dan Mogulof said.
University authorities said a staff member first saw the man carrying what appeared to be a gun in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The staffer called police at 2:17 p.m., saying she saw the man take the gun out of his backpack.
Police officers tracked Travis into a Haas computer lab, where he raised the loaded weapon and was shot by an officer at about 2:22 p.m., roughly five minutes after the initial call, officials said.
At the time, four students were between Travis and the officer, UC Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said. None of the students was hurt, and Mogulof said there was no evidence to suggest Travis had any intentions to harm others.
“Our heart goes out to the family of this young man,” Birgeneau said Wednesday.
Bill Travis, the suspect’s father, sobbed during a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press from his home in Lodi, Calif. He said he learned his son had been shot Tuesday night, and didn’t wish to make any further comment.
Gaiby Nkruma, a producer and director in the media services department, said he and three others were in an office inside the computer lab when they heard the gunshots, and immediately hit the ground.
It was disheartening for the school’s tight-knit community learn that Travis had been an undergraduate, he said.
“Nobody knew what was going on. It could have been another Virginia Tech, you never know,” Nkruma said.
It was the first on-campus shooting since 1992. In that earlier incident, an Oakland police officer fatally shot a machete-wielding activist from nearby People’s Park who had broken into the former chancellor’s mansion on the leafy north side of campus.
Mogulof said Wednesday that the suspect was taken to an Oakland hospital, where he died later Tuesday.
“It’s a very fast-moving investigation,” he said. “There were an enormous number of witnesses who police had to interview so that’s why it’s taken this long to get the information out.”