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Berkeley police shoot armed man in campus computer lab
BERKELEY, Calif |
BERKELEY, Calif (Reuters) - Police at the University of California, Berkeley shot and wounded a man on Tuesday they said brandished a gun in a computer lab not far from the scene of anti-Wall Street protests on the campus.
University Police Chief Mitchell Celaya said it was not yet clear if the shooting was related to daylong Berkeley protests linked to the Occupy movement against a financial system protesters say most benefits corporations and the wealthy.
Celaya said officers responding to a call of a man with a gun in the lab shot the man when he pulled the weapon from his backpack and displayed it in a threatening manner.
Authorities did not immediately say what connection the man, identified only as a white male with a blue backpack, may have had to the university. Celaya said the man was apparently conscious on arrival at a local hospital, but there was no immediate word on his condition.
"This is just extraordinarily upsetting," UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told a news conference.
Police Lieutenant Alex Yao, speaking to reporters separately shortly after the shooting, described it as an "isolated incident" and said no one else at the campus was in danger.
Lyle Nevels, chief information officer for the Haas School of Business, said the incident began when a staff member told him he had seen a young man pull a gun from his backpack in an elevator.
Nevels said he went to look for the man, described by the staff member as being in his 20s and sporting a sparse beard, and saw him speaking to people in the computer lab.
Nevels called police and said responding officers confronted the man in the lab. He said he heard three or four shots after they told him to drop his weapon.
"I heard a scuffle, I saw the police say 'Drop your gun', and then I heard shots," Nevels said.
In an emergency text message to students, the university said a shooting had taken place at the business school.
"Police are on the scene and everything is under control. Please avoid the area," the text message said.
Thousands of people converged on the UC Berkeley campus on Tuesday in demonstrations called in response to the arrest of 39 people last week after anti-Wall Street protesters sought to set up an "Occupy Cal Encampment" there.
Protest organizers said on Twitter that the shooting was unrelated to their protest. "All plans continue," Caloccupation said in a tweet.
Organizers, bolstered by members of the Occupy Oakland group, have said they intended to reestablish a protest camp on the campus by day's end, in defiance of university rules.
(Additional reporting by Nicole Neroulias, Jim Christie, Peter Henderson, Steve Gorman, Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
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