UCLA shootout: Classrooms had no locks!

Jun 06, 2016, 07:33 IST | Agencies

If Mainak Sarkar, the UCLA shooter, had gone on a rampage, he would have easily found targets, as the classroom doors had no locks

Los Angeles: When an active shooter alert spread across the UCLA campus Wednesday, some students found themselves in a frightening predicament: They were told to go into lockdown but couldn’t lock their classroom doors.

Students hug each other during a vigil at the UCLA campus.
Students hug each other during a vigil at the UCLA campus. Pic/AP

Images of students piling tables, chairs and printers against doors on social media sparked alarm and raised questions — yet it was hardly the first time students at a university or school were unable to lock their doors during a shooting.

Some schools have installed locks in recent years following attacks, but experts say wider adoption has been hindered by the cost to retrofit doors and local fire codes that require doors to open in one motion during emergencies.

Yet once an active shooter is in a building, most security experts agree getting into a locked room is one of the most effective deterrents against getting injured or shot. “How many deaths would it have taken for us to address this issue more seriously?” said Jesus Villahermosa, president of Crisis Reality Training, noting that an assailant, knowing police are on the way, usually won’t bother trying to access a locked room.

The former deputy sheriff said UCLA was fortunate in that shooter Mainak Sarkar targeted professor William Klug and then committed suicide. If he’d gone on a rampage, he might have easily found students unable to defend themselves.

'Sarkar not impressive'
Indian-American professor Ajit Mal has said Mainak Sarkar, who was behind the UCLA murder-suicide, left little impression as a student in his class and never used to greet him when they passed each other despite both hailing from West Bengal.

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