The estranged wife of UCLA gunman Mainak Sarkar was fatally shot in her Minnesota home before the disgruntled PhD drove across the country and killed his former professor in his office, leading to a chaotic lockdown that lasted several hours on the sprawling Los Angeles campus.
A day earlier, Sarkar shot engineering professor William Klug at UCLA. Sarkar fatally shot himself after killing Klug, but police searched the campus out of an abundance of caution, forcing terrified students and staff to frantically lock themselves inside classes and offices until the all clear was given.
Hasti was listed on a “kill list” found inside Sarkar’s St. Paul, Minnesota home, police said.
It was originally reported that Hasti was Sarkar’s ex-girlfriend, but authorities told WCCO-TV that they were married.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hasti’s Body Was Found When Police Went to Her Home on a ‘Welfare Check’ After the UCLA Shooting
Ashley Hasti’s body was found early Thursday morning when the Brooklyn Park Police Department went to her house for a welfare check after the kill list was found inside Sarkar’s St. Paul home, WCCO-TV reports.
Police went to her home in the 2400 block of Pearson Parkway at about 12:30 a.m. She had been fatally shot, according to police.
Hasti appeared to have been dead for “a couple of days,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times.
“What I can tell you is we believe she was deceased prior to the UCLA shooting, but because it is so early in investigation the timing [of her death] we don’t know at this point,” Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Mark Bruley told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Her death is being investigated by the Brooklyn Park Police, with assistance from the LAPD. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Lab and the county medical examiner are also assisting.
A neighbor told the Star Tribune police came to her house asking about Hasti.
“He made it clear that it wasn’t something that we need to be concerned about concerning our safety,” Holly Olson told the newspaper, adding she knew little about Hasti.
Read more about Ashley Hasti and Mainak Sarkar in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com:
2. Sarkar’s ‘Kill List’ Also Included Klug & Another UCLA Professor Who Was Not Shot
In a March 2016 blog post, Sarkar accused Klug, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, of stealing his computer code while he was a student of his at UCLA. Sarkar eventually completed his degree in solid mechanics at the California school and later returned to Minnesota.
“William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy,” he wrote in the blog post. “My name is Mainak Sarkar. I was this guy’s PhD student. We had personal differences. He cleverly stole all my code and gave it another student. He made me really sick.”
Police found a suicide note in Klug’s office. Investigators have not yet said why Sarkar killed Hasti and targeted the other professor.
Read more about Klug at the link below:
3. Sarkar & Hasti Were Married in 2011
Hasti and Sarkar were married in June 2011, according to WCCO-TV.
Hasti’s great aunt, Charlane Bertsch, told the Los Angeles Times the couple never seemed committed and only lived together for about a year. She said she didn’t know of any bad blood between the couple.
“He did his thing. She did hers,” she told the newspaper.
Hasti last posted photos with Sarkar on her Facebook page in 2011, in an album called “Last Days in LA.”
In that album, she posted photos of Sarkar in the Engineering IV building at UCLA:
The building is where Sarkar killed professor William Klug inside his office on Wednesday.
4. Hasti’s Sister Says She Was the ‘Smartest, Coolest & Funniest Person I Knew’
Ashley Hasti’s sister, Alex Hasti, posted on Facebook that she was in a “state of shock” after her sister was found dead.
“My sister, Ashley Hasti, was the smartest, coolest and funniest person I knew,” she wrote. “She could do anything she dreamed of, whether it was studying abroad in four different countries, acting in school plays, trying stand up comedy improv, and becoming a doctor.”
Hasti was studying at the University of Minnesota Medical School and wanted to be a pathologist.
The university told the Star Tribune that Hasti was enrolled in the summer term at the medical school and had been a student since 2012.
She wrote a rap parody of the song “Get Low” by Lil Jon in 2013 about getting low scores on medical school tests. “Just lil’ ol’ me rappin’ about first world problems,” she wrote in the caption on the video, which you can watch below:
Hasti was also a stand-up comedian, posting on Facebook in 2014 that she had just done her first open mic night.
5. She Graduated From Scripps College in California & Was a Tutor in Minnesota
Hasti graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California, in 2010 with a premedical certificate, according to her Facebook page. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota in 2008. School officials said she got her degree in Asian languages and literature.
She worked as a tutor at the North Hennepin Community College in Minnesota from 2011 to 2012, she said on Facebook.
Hasti’s mother died in 2011, and her Facebook page is filled with tributes to her late mother.