Suspect Arrested After UCLA Mass Shooting Threat

Boulder police say Matthew Harris also threatened violence in that city
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2022 9:55 AM CST
Updated Feb 1, 2022 7:10 PM CST
UCLA Shooting Threat Was Reportedly From Ex-Lecturer
Dodd Hall, home to the philosophy department at University of California, Los Angeles, is shown on Oct. 19, 2019.   (Wikimedia Commons/Beyond My Ken)

This story has been updated with news of Harris' arrest. A former University of California, Los Angeles lecturer accused of threatening a mass shooting is now in custody. Police in Boulder, Colorado say Matthew Harris barricaded himself inside his home but was taken into custody peacefully after around three hours, the Daily Camera reports. A nearby school was evacuated during the operation. Boulder police Chief Maris Herold says the manifesto Harris allegedly sent to members of UCLA's philosophy department also contained "very violent" and "very disturbing" references to violence in Boulder. UCLA says in-person classes, which were canceled Tuesday, will resume on Wednesday

Harris sent a video titled "UCLA Philosophy (Mass Shooting)"—which included clips from 2003's Zero Day, based on the mass shooting at Columbine High School, as well as footage of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas—to the university's philosophy department along with the manifesto, which included threats to department members, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Da war is comin," he reportedly warned. Harris joined the university as a postdoctoral fellow in philosophy in the spring of 2019 before being put on leave last year over allegations that he sent a pornographic video to a student.

The mass shooting video was one of more than 350 videos Harris had uploaded to his YouTube channel over 24 hours, reports Business Insider. Others titles included "UCLA PHILOSOPHY IS RACIST AND OPENLY RACIST," "im a p*dophile, ladies im a p*dophile," and "how to kill an enemy," according to the outlet. A campus alert sent soon after midnight noted classes would be held remotely Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution," though there was no "specific information" that Harris was in California, per KABC. Students went on to complain about a lack of communication, though department heads had sent emails alerting faculty and students to the threats on Monday night, per the Times.

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"Students should not have to scour the internet for information on what is or isn't safe during an emergency," wrote the Daily Bruin's editorial board. It added Harris had "expressed erratic behavior and posted worrying activity online" while teaching undergraduates. Two students had described examples in reviews shared on One said Harris had changed a student's grade 43 times after the end of the academic quarter. In a Monday statement, UCLA police said they were "actively engaged with out-of-state law enforcement and federal agencies" in response to the threat. In an email obtained by the Times, university police told a faculty member that "at this time we're not concerned about anything happening." (Read more UCLA stories.)

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