Campus police officers at California State University San Bernardino shot and killed Bartholomew Williams, a 38-year-old graduate student in an altercation in the hallway of Williams's off-campus dormitory, hours after the school's December graduation ceremony, according to the Press-Enterprise.
Lt. Paul Williams of the City of San Bernardino Police Department -- which is now investigating the incident -- told the newspaper that Williams retreated farther into the building upon officers' arrival and acted violently toward them. Police report that baton strikes and pepper spray failed to subdue Williams. Two officers then shot at Williams, who was hit once in the torso. He was declared dead at the scene, according to KSEE24.
"He was on top of the officer, kicking the officer in the torso and the head," San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams told KTLA. "The other officers feared for the officer's safety, and they discharged their weapons."
The altercation went on for 7 minutes.
KTLA reports Williams was working to complete his second master's degree. Family members told the Los Angeles Times that he had bipolar disorder and was not taking his medication. Police described Williams as a muscular man who weighed over 200 lbs. and seemed to possess "super-human" strength during the fight.
"This is a tragic day for the Cal State San Bernardino community," university President Tomás Morales said in a statement. "Words cannot express how truly saddened we are at this time. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all who knew him."
A survey released by Campus Safety magazine this year reports that 42 percent of those asked believe campus police and security officers do not have the proper training with lethal and other weapons to appropriately respond to an incident. Officers who work at universities were by far the most confident with the level of lethal weapons-training provided to their officers.
Williams's killing at Cal State San Bernadino comes two months after University of Southern Alabama police shot and killed 19-year-old Gil Collar, who knocked on the windows of the university's police department while naked. Police believe Collar was on LSD and say he took a wrestling stance and threatened the responding officer, Trevis Austin.
Collar's family is suing Austin, the university and the university's police chief, claiming they used force without cause -- resorting to firearms when, according to attorneys, a baton and pepper spray would have sufficed. University policy prohibits officers from carrying stun guns.
Jere Beasley, who is representing the Collars, told CBS 8 in Montgomery that they don't want to bring criminal charges against Austin, and any money won in the suit would go toward a memorial scholarship fund. Beasley added that the family is seeking injunctive action that would require officers to receive more training in the use of nonlethal weapons.