By Doug Oakley
Bay Area News Group
A UC Berkeley police officer was cleared in the November shooting of a 32-year-old business school student who pointed a gun at officers in a computer lab, according to a 25-page report by the Alameda County District Attorney's office.
The report also said the student, Christopher Travis, had two previous gun incidents with Berkeley and Oakland police in the months leading up to his death and had attempted suicide with sleeping pills in 2003.
The report, released last month, said UC Berkeley Sgt. Andrew Tucker, a 15-year veteran of the department, shot Travis five times after he refused commands to drop a gun he was pointing at two other officers.
The report said there is insufficient evidence to file any charges against Tucker because he "had no other option but to fire his own weapon at Mr. Travis" whom he believed "was about to shoot and kill police officers or others within Room S300T."
The findings are based on Tucker's and three other officers' accounts of the shootings, a video of the incident and statements by some of the 11 students who were in the room at the time.
Police were called to the Haas School of Business on the UC Berkeley campus after Travis pulled a gun out of his backpack while in an elevator with a school employee. When police arrived and found Tucker in the back of a computer lab with 11 other students, he bent down and pulled out a gun.
The report includes incidents with Berkeley and Oakland police in September and October that suggest Travis may have been suicidal and wanted a confrontation with police.
On Oct. 28, 19 days before he was shot by UC Berkeley police, Travis pointed a gun at a Berkeley police officer who had responded to a call of shots fired in an apartment bedroom.
"Travis pulled the side back on the gun, ejecting a round of ammunition from the chamber, grinned and slowly gave the gun over to," the officer, the report said.
And on Sept. 11, Travis pulled his car next to an Oakland police car, asked the officer if he was busy, retrieved a handgun from his trunk, took the bullets out of it and tossed the weapon and the bullets into the police car through the open driver's side window, saying "It's bad luck."
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.