Elected officials and gun-control advocates expressed anger today after a suspected murder-suicide at UCLA had students scrambling for cover amid fears of an active shooter.
The attack before 10 a.m. was ultimately deemed to have involved those two male fatalities, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told reporters in an afternoon news conference on campus.
Rumors of multiple active shooters and the possibility of more victims turned out to be false after a massive police mobilization, including the assistance of agents from the FBI's nearby L.A. office, cleared the 419-acre Westwood institution.
Classes were canceled for the day, part of finals week, but the campus was reopened.
It was the 186th shooting at an educational institution in the United States since 2013, according to the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
It was, of course, another chance to reflect on our relationship with guns.
“This horrific event, at an institution dedicated to learning and mutual understanding, reminds us once again of the fragility of a peaceful society,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement released this afternoon. “Thankfully, the campus is now safe — but I am heartbroken by the sight of SWAT teams running down avenues normally filled with students, and angered by the fear that one person with a firearm can inflict on a community.”
Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista rampage victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, has become an outspoken advocate for stricter gun laws.
“Today a California university has been affected by gun violence and yet another round of families will get a call like so many parents receive when gun violence strikes where our children are learning,” he said. “That is a call I would wish on no one. I am so angry that we are here again. We cannot sit idly by while gun violence shatters our families and creates fear in our communities. We should say to ourselves 'Not One More' and act to stop gun violence. We should feel safe sending our kids to school. We have to do more to protect our families and prevent our kids from being shot and killed. We can and must do better.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer noted that tomorrow is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“Every student, every family and every neighborhood should be shielded from gun violence,” he said. “But this morning's tragedy at UCLA is another grim reminder that in America today gun violence respects no boundaries. We cannot allow shootings to become a way of life in our nation. On the eve of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, all Americans should join in proclaiming that enough is enough — and take the practical steps necessary to make us all safer.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of L.A.'s South Bay area called it “a difficult day for the Bruin family.”
“I have no doubt that the university will persevere as we move forward together to understand today’s tragedy more fully, mourn those who have been lost, comfort those who have been affected and look for ways to help prevent violence at our schools and universities,” he said.