Shaken by yesterday’s shooting at the Haas School of Business, some 200 of the school’s staff, students and faculty gathered this morning to discuss the tragic event, only to be stunned again to learn the victim was one of their own.
UC Berkeley Police Chief Mitch Celaya revealed that the person shot by university police as he brandished a gun around students in a computer lab Tuesday afternoon was a 32-year-old transfer student majoring in business.
Police later identified the victim as undergraduate Christopher Nathen Elliot Travis, who died Tuesday evening at Oakland’s Highland Hospital.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau praised the Haas School staff members who initially alerted police at 2:17 p.m. yesterday, and the police officers’ rapid response a mere two minutes later.
“I want to congratulate the Haas staff for their alertness in this issue. It was just extraordinary,” he said. “This sets an example for responsibility and alertness. I also want to thank the police for their very quick response.”
He said it was extraordinarily fortunate that no other students or staff in the immediate area were injured.
“The safety of our community is among my highest priorities,” said Haas School Dean Richard Lyons. “ It is an essential precondition for what we are all doing here together at Berkeley-Haas. While we view this event as an anomaly and unlikely to occur again, we are taking every precaution to make certain our security systems are as good as they can be. We will immediately be increasing security in the buildings and be reviewing how we can enhance security over the longer term.”
The Tang Center’s counseling services offer grief counseling and consultation for the campus. Students may contact Counseling and Psychological Services at (510) 642-9494, or drop in for urgent counseling. Faculty and staff may contact CARE Services, the employee assistance program, for telephone consultations and appointments at (510) 643-7754. Counselors also are available to attend classes and meetings of student groups or campus departments to help you address the impact of this tragic incident. For additional support resources related to this incident, please visit the Tang Center website.
On hand at the gathering were counselors from University Health Services – including Tang Center staff psychologist Aaron Cohen and Craig Mielcarski, head of CARE services – who were dispatched to the Haas School yesterday.
Cohen, who had only just learned that the victim was a student, assured the community that their reactions to the event were a “normal response to an abnormal event,” and urged them to “watch each other and support one another” to get through the experience.
If, over the next couple of weeks or months, people have trouble sleeping or have headaches, or forget material they’re supposed to be talking about, he urged, “Don’t say, something is wrong with me, but realize this may be your way of reacting to abnormal events. Support one another.”
“When something terrible happens, something impossible to understand, communities grieve as individuals and grieve together,” Lyons reminded his colleagues. “We’ve come together today, from our classrooms, our offices, our own families, to mark this time for our community to do our best to understand this, however incompletely. We are much better together than we are alone.”