A former campus faculty member has posted threats alluding to the potential harm of UCSB personnel online, causing a temporary lockdown in the Engineering Science Building East for the next few weeks.
Former UCSB engineer Neil Baker posted a set of comments on Jan. 10 on the popular classified website Craigslist.org referencing last year’s shootings at the Goleta Postal Station and the upcoming one-year anniversary of the episode. In his comments, Baker hinted at a possible re-enactment of the incident – in which USPS employee Jennifer San Marco shot and killed six fellow staff members on Jan. 30, 2006 – planned for this year at UCSB.
“I was thinking about [a shooting spree] myself when San Marco blew those people away,” Baker wrote in his Jan. 10 post on a Craigslist.org forum. “It could have just as easily have been me. Of all the infinite places it could have happened, it happened in the exact same town that I’d been thinking about killing my former bosses and shithead coward coworkers.
“I think about it every day. I’ve thought about it every day for a couple years,” Baker continued. “I still think about it. They deserve it. And I can kill a hell of a lot more than six.”
In response, a uniformed UCPD officer was stationed outside the main entrance of the ESB East – where Baker used to work during his employment at UCSB – beginning yesterday, and police ordered all other entrances to the building to remain locked during the next few weeks.
College of Engineering Assistant Dean Joy Williams said UCPD and Engineering Dept. personnel became aware of the threats Jan. 19 and have since been working with the police to increase security. A UCPD spokesperson was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
“What we have is a semi-lockdown situation with keyed entrance and one public, guarded entry,” Williams said. “Those who felt they were in danger were allowed to leave.”
In an e-mail to ESB lab users, UCSB Nanofabrication Lab Manager Jack Whaley said Baker’s last confirmed residence was Washington state, but is unsure where he was when he wrote the post or where he is now. Whaley declined further comment on the situation.
Graduate Engineering Student Amorette Getty said she did not attend work over the past two days and plans to continue to avoid the ESB until investigations prove the area is secure.
“I have been personally inclined to refrain from accessing the building until further investigation proves my access will be safe,” Getty said.
According to Getty, the ESB building will maintain its regular hours of operation between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; however, it will remain under police surveillance for the next several weeks.
“Until then, I will be returning to work but avoiding entering my office as much as possible,” Getty said.