LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Details continue to unravel surrounding the shocking UCLA double homicide and suicide case of Mainak Sarkar, a former doctoral student at the university, and an aeronautical engineering alum of IIT Kharagpur, Stanford University & UCLA.
Sarkar allegedly stuffed guns and ammunition into a backpack before driving from his Minnesota home to Los Angeles where he hunted down his former professor, William Klug, killed himself and taunted authorities with a chilling note, Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck said.
The note requested that someone check on his cat, 2,000 miles away from the crime scene in Los Angeles — three gunshots rang out in a small office of UCLA’s engineering building. When police arrived, they found the bodies of Sarkar and Klug, along with the note.
“It requested that whoever found the note check on the cat that resided there, and also had some verbiage relative to the surviving professor,” Beck said. The note made no mention of suicide, he added.
When police entered Sarkar’s home just after midnight Thursday, they found another note, one which has been described as a “kill list.”
“That was the wording that was put on it,” Beck said.
The list included the names of Klug; an additional UCLA professor; and a Minnesota woman who resides in Brooklyn Park — when police went to check on the woman, they found her dead of a gunshot wound. Police believe she was killed within the last couple of days, sometime before Sarkar, the only suspect in her death, left for California, Beck said.
Details of the relationship between the two were not made readily available, but Ashley Hasti, 31, was identified by a relative as his estranged wife. Her uncle said the family has been in shock.
“She was way ahead of her time,” Mark Fitzgibbons said of his niece, who had studied abroad in Taiwan and China during high school before enrolling at Scripps College for pre-med studies. He said Hasti and Sarkar met while both were in school in California. The two wed and the Indo-native Sarkar obtained a green card as a result.
“He was a nice quiet young man,” Fitzgibbons said. “I don’t know what happened to make him do this. I am just as shocked as everyone else.” The two were together only “for a couple of years,” he added, saying also that “they had separated years ago.”
“She was really intelligent,” Fitzgibbons said. “I think she was going to get into medical examining but I think she had changed that. I think Colleen had a lot to do with that. Colleen really wanted this for her and she kept pushing.”
Sarkar, a 2013 Ph.D graduate of UCLA’s engineering school, packed two semi-automatic pistols, multiple rounds of ammunition, and several magazines into the backpack he made the trip with. The guns were purchased legally and at least one was registered to him, Beck said.
“He was certainly prepared to engage multiple victims,” said Beck.
The other professor on Sarkar’s kill list was off-campus when the incident occurred, although it remains unknown if Sarkar went looking for him before killing Klug. Beck said authorities are reveiwing surveillance footage to track Sarkar’s movements in the moments leading up to the shooting.
Back in Minnesota, detectives have been looking at Hasti’s phone records to see if any 911 calls were placed from her home, but Brooklyn Park Police Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said there hadn’t been any in the “recent past.”
Authorities in either city have not yet provided a motive for the crimes, but multiple reports have surfaced revealing that Sarkar had spent the past few months blogging about his hatred for professor Klug, calling him a “very sick person” who stole computer code from him.
School administrators have denied that accusation, Beck said.
“We don’t think there’s any basis and fact for it,” he said.