A University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) student who was on campus during a murder-suicide shooting Wednesday said the room where he hunkered down with fellow students was quiet and dark as they waited for updates from law enforcement.
“Everybody is trying to keep it quiet. The lights are off,” UCLA sophomore Alex Darouie told NBC 7 in a phone interview around 11:05 a.m. “Everybody is trying to not freak out right now.”
About an hour earlier, gunfire erupted inside a small office at Boelter Hall on the Westwood campus, according to a statement released by UCLA.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) soon confirmed two men were dead, though details regarding the men were not immediately released. Just after 12 p.m., LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the shooting was a murder-suicide and was completely contained. He said a gun and some sort of note was found near the bodies inside that office.
The shooting triggered a campus-wide alert system, Bruin Alert, to issue a notification to students via text message of a lockdown across the sprawling campus, which is home to more than 43,000 students.
Darouie told NBC 7 he was walking from a parking structure on the east side of the campus when he received the emergency Bruin Alert about the shooting.
He quickly made his way to the music building on campus, located a few hundred feet away from Boelter Hall. From there, he said all students were told to move into a band room and to be quiet.
He followed orders and said he saw other students outside running away from Boelter Hall.
On lockdown with about 20 others, Darouie described the moments in the band room as extremely tense. At the time of his conversation with NBC 7, the sophomore had already been locked in the room for about an hour.
“We’re told to keep the lights off and the doors locked in the building until further notice,” Darouie explained.
The student said he heard very little sound coming from outside the door of the band room.
“We hear like occasional shuffling of people running to classes,” he explained. “There’s not much sound beside the police units and the helicopters.”
He said there were no law enforcement officers inside the room with him, but he could hear them surrounding the building.
A few minutes later, Darouie said he had to wrap up the phone call.
“I was just told that I have to put my stuff away because they don’t know where the shooters are right now,” he whispered.
LAPD officials lifted the lockdown at UCLA around 12:30 p.m. No other injuries were reported.