A man armed with a gun was shot by police this afternoon at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the university’s police chief said. The shooting happened around 2:20 p.m. in a third-floor computer lab after officers responded to a report of a man with a weapon. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said a female staff member was taking the elevator up to the fifth floor when a man who was in the elevator with her reached into his backpack and she saw what appeared to be a gun.
She was “extremely concerned,” and when the man got off at the third floor, she continued to the fifth floor and notified her supervisor, who called police, said Birgeneau, speaking at a 4 p.m. news conference at California Hall. UC Berkeley police Chief Mitch Celaya said police received the call at 2:17 p.m., and by 2:19 p.m. several officers had arrived at the computer lab. He said that when the officers made contact with the man, he “pulled a firearm out in a threatening manner.” They ordered him several times to drop the weapon, and one officer, fearing for his life, opened fire, Celaya said. The suspect was hit and was taken to Highland Hospital. Celaya said he did not know the man’s condition. No officers or students were injured. Birgeneau said there were four students between the gunman and the officers at the time of the shooting. “It appeared the students’ lives might be at risk,” he said.
Police are still trying to determine the suspect’s identity, but Celaya described him as a man in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds. He was wearing jeans and a blue jacket and was carrying a backpack, Celaya said. Haas School of Business spokesman Lyle Nevels said he was working on the fifth floor when he heard that something was happening and headed downstairs to the computer lab. He said he saw the suspect sitting at a computer terminal, and that the man didn’t look out of place in the lab. Nevels didn’t see the shooting but said several police officers showed up at the lab and he heard at least one yell “Drop your gun, Drop your gun!” He said he then heard several shots fired. Kaulin Krebs, a junior at UC Berkeley, said he was arriving at the computer lab when he heard four or five gunshots. He heard someone say, “Drop to the ground, a guy has a gun,” and saw about 15 people on the floor of the lab.
The building is closed for the rest of the day. Celaya said the last time there was a shooting on campus was in the 1980s. He said the shooting is still under investigation but that there is no indication it is related to the Occupy Cal protests happening elsewhere on campus. “We don’t know, but there’s nothing to suggest that’s the case,” he said. Birgeneau called the shooting”extraordinarily upsetting.” He said the Occupy Cal protests during the day have been peaceful.
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