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Student Shot by UC Berkeley Police Dies

UC Berkeley students walk by Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007
UC Berkeley students walk by Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007

UC Berkeley students walk by Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
UC Berkeley students walk by Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Updated Nov. 16, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.

A UC Berkeley student who was shot by campus police Tuesday has died, campus officials said Wednesday morning.

Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, 32, was an undergraduate at the Haas School of Business. Police say he was shot after brandishing a loaded weapon inside a computer lab at the school Tuesday afternoon. He died at Highland Hospital on Tuesday night.

The shooting occurred shortly about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday as an Occupy Cal protest was under way, but it was not clear whether the incident was related to the protest.

“There’s nothing to suggest that that is the case, but we don’t know,” University of California Police Department Chief Mitchell Celaya said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

At a press briefing Wednesday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said, “It’s a very challenging time. It helps put in perspective all of the other challenges we are dealing with.”

Birgeneau said his "heart goes out to the family of this young man."

The student had transferred to Cal this semester, but campus officials would not say what school he had previously attended.

One witness had told police that the student had been acting "not normal" before the shooting, but officers would not elaborate on what that meant.

Police learned that there was a student with a weapon after a Haas staff member named Susie rode an elevator with the suspect. He looked at her, took what appeared to be a gun out of his backpack and put it back, according to Celaya.

Susie told Lyle Nevels, the business school's chief information officer, what she had seen, and the pair went into the third-floor computer lab. They saw the man, whom Nevels described as white, in his mid-20s, wearing jeans and with short, brownish-grayish hair, sitting at a computer. A gun was not visible at that time.

They called the University of California Police Department, which sent three officers to respond. When the police entered the computer lab and approached the suspect, he pulled the gun out of his backpack in a "threatening manner," Celaya said.

Alex Arroyo and Loren Fuell, Berkeley students who work at the computer lab, were sitting at a desk outside the lab at the time of the shooting. They said they heard the officers say repeatedly, "Drop the gun," before four or five shots were fired.

Just one of the officers fired the shots, Celaya said, but all three have been placed on leave, in accordance with department policy.

Kaulin Krebs, a junior at UC Berkeley, said he was arriving at the computer lab around 2:15 p.m. when he heard someone say, "Drop to the ground, a guy has a gun." He saw about 15 people on the floor of the computer lab.

According to Celaya, at least four students were between the officers and the suspect in the computer lab. Celaya said there may have been a surveillance camera in the room, but “I have not seen it and there are questions if it was functioning at the time.”

No one besides the suspect was injured. Students and faculty were evacuated from the building, and allowed back in after 4 p.m. to retrieve their belongings.

The UCPD is the lead agency in the investigation and has interviewed 17 witnesses in addition to the officers involved in the shooting. Police have recovered a weapon, according to UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett.

The last shooting at Cal took place in the 1980s in the Bear's Lair, a bar on campus.

The Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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