A horrific threat of mass violence caused the University of California, Los Angeles to close its doors this week. UCLA canceled Tuesday’s in-person classes. According to an email students received this week, the suspect made threats to the school’s philosophy department. “The material includes a video entitled ‘UCLA Philosophy Mass Shooting’ and an 800-page manifesto with specific threats towards some members of our department.” Boulder, Colorado authorities arrested the UCLA mass shooting suspect, Matthew Harris, a postdoctoral fellow teaching about the philosophy of race and personal identity, according to a UCLA newsletter from 2019 announcing his hiring.
Evidence Against UCLA Mass Shooting Suspect
The UCLA mass shooting suspect posted over 300 videos to YouTube, most of them published Monday. As of Tuesday, the account was taken down by Youtube “due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech.” Titles of videos he allegedly posted to YouTube include: “MURDER,” “my racial angel I’m so glad you exist” and “im a p*dophile, ladies im a p*dophile,” Newsweek reported. Court documents also show he is accused of previously sending messages saying he would “hunt” and kill a professor.
Boulder Authorities Arrest UCLA Mass Shooting Suspect
The arrest of the UCLA mass shooting suspect led to evacuations of multiple schools in two states. UCLA alerted local law enforcement after a “concerning email and posting” was sent to some faculty at the school Sunday. Early Tuesday, local law enforcement confirmed the UCLA mass shooting suspect was not in California. Once he was located, Boulder Police spent hours before his arrest evacuating a nearby elementary school, as well as fraternity and sorority homes at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Authorities then took the suspect into custody without incident after a standoff.
Boulder Officials Respond to Threats of Violence
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said she was made aware of the threats as well as the suspect’s possible whereabouts. She called the threats “very violent and very disturbing.” Chief Herold said the levels of violence detailed were “alarming.” The manifesto also included references to Boulder, universities and schoolyards. “Upon reviewing parts of the manifesto, we identified thousands of references to violence, stating things such as killing, death, murder, shootings, bombs, schoolyard massacres,” Herold said.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the UCLA mass shooting suspect attempted to purchase a handgun in November in Colorado but was rejected. Officials believe the transaction did not go through because of the California-based protection order that said he could not possess a firearm. Dougherty said his office is considering a host of charges against the suspect and federal charges could be added as well, since the suspect threatened victims across state lines.
UCLA Mass Shooting Suspect has History of Violent Threats
Last year, a University of California, Irvine philosophy professor was granted a restraining order against the suspect. Court documents show the suspect sent emails to his mother threatening to “hunt” the professor and “put bullets in her skull.” The suspect’s mother alerted the professor months later. Once the professor was alerted to the threat, the University of California regents sought a workplace violence restraining order in May, the day after UCLA officials learned the suspect had been released from a mental health facility and was back in Los Angeles. A temporary restraining order was granted immediately, then a longer protective order was approved until 2024. The Daily Bruin, the school’s student-run newspaper, reported Harris was placed on leave in 2021 after allegations he’d sent a pornographic video to a student.
UCLA officials announced the arrest Tuesday afternoon in emails to faculty and students. In-person classes were back in as of Wednesday, the school said. “The threats made yesterday were frightening for many of us and caused our community to feel vulnerable at an already challenging time,” said Michael Beck, the administrative vice chancellor at UCLA. “I offer my deepest thanks to UCPD and other law enforcement agencies (Boulder Police) for thoroughly investigating these threats as soon as we learned of them and for coordinating to locate and arrest the individual in Colorado.” This is a shining example of multiple systems working together to protect students and the general from violence. Without our brothers and sisters in blue doing their jobs in an amazing way, this horrifying almost could have ended as a tragic event rocking the community.
Written by: Erinn Malloy