UCLA Shooting: Gunman’s Car Found

Los Angeles police have found a handgun and several gasoline cans in the trunk of Manainak Sardar, the UCLA gunman’s car, reports the Los Angeles Times. The car, a gray Nissan, was found parked in Culver City on Friday afternoon. It is believed Sarkar drove there from Minnesota on Wednesday and took a bus to the UCLA campus where he committed suicide after shooting his former professor, William Klug.

LAPD Deputy Chief Matt Blake said at a news conference Friday evening that the car was spotted by a cyclist at around 2 p.m. and reported to police, who then sent patrol officers to the location on Sawtelle Boulevard, Washington Place, to investigate. It was parked about six miles southeast of UCLA, near a Culver City bus line that runs to the campus. A Culver City bus transfer ticket was found in the pants pocket of the gunman, Blake said.

Authorities said that Sarkar had lived in Culver City at some stage while attending UCLA and was therefore probably familiar with the area where his car was found.

“We believe, based on his familiarity with the neighborhood, he parked a vehicle here and took a bus,” said LAPD Captain William Hayes.

Local resident Cristian Martinez, said he saw people standing by the car on Washington Place when he pulled up at a liquor store.

“They were looking at the car, keeping their distance,” Martinez said. “I just thought it was their car and didn’t think anything of it.” When he arrived at his home about a block away, he saw the officers arriving on the scene and found out later that the car belonged to the deceased gunman. Another resident, Miguel Villela, was returning home after picking his daughters up from school when he saw the police. He was later told by a neighbor that the vehicle parked a street away from his house belonged to Sarkar.

“Goosebumps,” he said, “That’s what I’m feeling.”

Six gas cans, some full and others partially full, were retrieved from the vehicle. According to Hayes, it seems Sarkar used the fuel en route to avoid using his credit card to fill up his car at gas stations. Police believe the reason for his trip was due to a grudge held against Klug, the professor who chaired his mechanical engineering doctoral dissertation committee three years ago. Sarkar was carrying two semi-automatic pistols and extra ammunition. When police arrived at Klug’s office, the scene of the shooting, they found a note from Sarkar requesting the finder to check on his cat. When doing so at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota, they found more ammunition and his “kill list.” Another professor was also named on this list, but was fortunately off campus when Sarkar arrived.

Sarkar’s “kill list” led investigators to the Brooklyn Park home of his estranged wife. The 31-year-old wife, Ashley Hasti, was found dead as a result of number of gunshot wounds. Ballistic comparisons of the shell casings found on the scene seem to match those recovered at UCLA.

“Preliminary indications are the casings were likely fired from Sarkar’s weapon,” said Blake, although authorities had not yet examined what kind of handgun was found in the car. “He had multiple magazines of ammunition and multiple loose rounds of ammunition. He was certainly prepared to engage multiple victims with the ordnance he had,” Beck said during a news conference on Thursday.

Sarkar’s car will be taken to an evidence bay where, according to Blake, it will be examined for “possible answers as to why Sarkar committed such a heinous act.” There was no evidence pointing to any accomplices in the killings.

“This was simply him,” Hayes said, “We have not been able to determine any trigger event that would lead to this or the murder of his wife.”

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