UC Berkeley hires private security firm after fatal shooting near campus stirs safety concerns at campus
The following is an article published Thursday, March 19, 2020, in our print edition.
The United States has many problems — from the sky falling to political divisions between states and races — but it also has a way to make your blood boil and get you angry. Just get a friend, a relative, a coworker or a random stranger to shoot a person dead and it’s guaranteed to make some news headlines.
For a school like UC Berkeley, with student body representing its most diverse population and the largest single-race college in the world, gun violence has no place on campus. But on the night of March 17, 2020, the university received a call and saw an image on a video that triggered it into action.
Students told police that a group of men were seen chasing a group of students who had walked from the campus to a friend’s home. It wasn’t clear what the threat was; the men were seen walking on the side of the road with their hands up. The video showed shots fired at the ground, as well as a group of students who looked around to see a group of men running away.
UC Berkeley police said they took over the investigation at about 5 p.m. on March 17 and closed the case “out of an abundance of caution.” University chancellor Carol Christ said she received a call that night from student leaders who were concerned about safety and wanted the university to do something. Christ agreed, and that’s when UC Berkeley hired P.C.T. — or private security.
“This was a complex and difficult situation, but we were able to determine what happened,” Cal police chief Michael Mroz said in a statement. “The evidence strongly suggests that the suspect was armed and had used an accelerant in the attack that caused the victims to be set on fire. However, to definitively link this person or persons to the shooting, we still need to obtain more evidence.�