Linda Su woke up to an email around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday from UCLA reporting “police activity” near the engineering building.
Minutes later, Su, a UCLA freshman and former Davis High School student, heard that there was a shooting at the Engineering Building IV and that the university was on lockdown.
“Just having this happen was a shock because you would never really imagine anything like this,” Su said.
Authorities said shooting is believed to be a murder-suicide. Classes, canceled Wednesday, were to resume Thursday, according to a statement posted to the UCLA website
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After hearing from her friends through text messages that there was a shooting, Su stayed in her dorm room. But she said some of her friends who were on campus at the time of the shooting received no alert from Bruin Alert, the campus’ emergency notification system, and some of the alerts that people did receive were vague. A UCLA spokeswoman said the alert should have reached all students, but could not comment further Wednesday.
Su said information —some of it false — was spread by word of mouth and through group messages.
Alice Kim was in a classroom on the north side of campus — opposite of where the shooting occurred — when news of the violence broke. Kim said her professor continued to lecture but as some students began to receive text messages that shooters were approaching their building, they began to voice concerns about their safety. Kim said her class then barricaded the doors and wrapped extension cords around the hinges to prevent a potential shooter from entering the room.
The information about multiple shooters was untrue, but Kim said that the rumors and false information contributed to the fear.
“It definitely made a lot of students really anxious,” Kim said. “But then a lot of rumors started to spread about shooters being in buildings close to us, and while we take information from students with a grain of salt, we all wanted to be on the cautious side.”
Jordan Leong was in class inside the Math Sciences building, which is connected to Engineering Building IV, at the time of the shooting. He said that he received a text alert saying to get to a safe area, and evacuated the building along with his classmates. Police were already waiting outside the building waving their hands and directing students to safety.
“At first it seemed like it was a drill almost, no one really took it seriously” Leong said. “Then when I saw the police were there, it kicked in that, ‘whoa, this is real.’ ”
The incident transpired during the last week of classes at UCLA, as many students prepare for upcoming final exams.
“It’s finals week so students are already stressed and tense because of that,” Su said.
And even after the shooting, Kim still felt safe on campus.
“I don’t really feel less safe, especially after seeing how quickly the police and security were on it,” Kim said. “Of course it’s tragic that the shooter killed someone and himself, but the fact that it wasn’t a mass shooting makes us feel safer. I wouldn’t mind going back to campus to study today because the threat isn’t there anymore and even if it was, I know that there would be campus police and others there to keep us safe.”