Student arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot staff at UC Berkeley

Students walk through a plaza in front of a building with columns
Students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

A 39-year-old student was charged earlier this week with two counts of making criminal threats to university staff at UC Berkeley.

Lamar Bursey, from Hayward, had been arrested Friday for allegedly threatening to shoot staff at the school, prompting a campus-wide lockdown last week as authorities searched for him.

Bursey allegedly sent a threatening email to multiple staff members at UC Berkeley on Thursday morning, according to court documents filed in Alameda County. “Depending on who I feel was helping or not, 2 people on this email will get shot,” the message read.


Staff who received the email felt scared and refused to go to work. The campus was on lockdown for several hours Friday as police searched for Bursey. He was later found at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, according to authorities.

Bursey had been placed on academic suspension for an incident that occurred April 14, according to the university police department.

Last week during the lockdown, students posted on Reddit, Twitter and other social media platforms seeking answers about the nature of the threat, but few were immediately available.

One student, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, told The Times that students who were sheltering inside a classroom were traumatized, and some were crying. Initial reports were that there was an active shooter on the campus, but campus police later clarified that authorities were searching for a suspect who threatened staff.

All campus services at Berkeley, including parking garages, libraries and restaurants, were closed and in-person classes were canceled for the remainder of the day, according to campus security. Facilities Services locked buildings on campus.

In response to the threat, officials with the Berkeley Unified School District placed public schools near the university on a “soft lockdown” out of an abundance of caution.


UC Berkeley deferred all questions about the incident to campus police. Patrol Lt. Sabrina Reich with the University of California Police Department, Berkeley, said Bursey is in jail.