A man who allegedly died at the hands of a Navy SEAL in Santa Monica over the weekend was a UCLA staff member, officials said.
Kris Anderson, 57, of Santa Monica worked in the Student and Alumni Services and Arts departments at UCLA Extension for about 35 years, spokeswoman Helen Williams said. Colleagues said he was known around campus as a gentle giant, who would never hurt a fly.
“This is devastating news for the entire UCLA Extension community. Kris was always committed to helping our students, and an absolute delight to work with as a friend and a colleague. We miss him, " said Wayne Smutz, dean of UCLA Extension.
Colleagues on Facebook pleaded for the public’s help with the police investigation. Staff and faculty were offered counseling services this week for those who were grieving.
Walen Ngo said Anderson was “tragically and senselessly murdered.”
Theo Andrew Krah, a Coronado-based SEAL, has been charged with murder in Anderson’s death. An autopsy is pending, but prosecutors and police allege a knife was used in the attack. Krah is being held on $2-million bail.
Krah, 28, was arrested Monday in San Diego, two days after the attack.
Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said officers were called to break up a confrontation between Krah and Anderson on the pier about 4 p.m. Saturday. Nobody was arrested or injured in that incident. Police separated the men, who then went their separate ways, Rodriguez said.
An hour later, Anderson was found lying in the 1300 block of 5th Street suffering from head trauma and stab wounds, police said. He died the next day at an area hospital.
Krah and Anderson did not know each other before Saturday’s fight, Rodriguez said.
Krah’s attorney Anthony Salerno said his client was on the pier Saturday afternoon for a paddleboard competition when he saw Anderson eyeing young girls and taking pictures of them. Krah confronted Anderson and demanded to see his camera, he said. He then restrained Anderson and asked a bystander to call police, his attorney said.
Police, he said, asked Anderson to delete the photographs and let him go.
Krah’s attorney said his client is innocent and remained at the pier for a short time after the incident, then drove back to his home in San Diego.
“Anybody could have done this,” Salerno said. “The question is who.” A Navy Personnel Command spokeswoman this week said she couldn’t comment on Krah’s arrest because he was a SEAL.
Krah is a petty officer 2nd class assigned to a West Coast-based special warfare unit, according to Navy spokesman Zach Keating in San Diego. Krah enlisted in 2012 and was awarded a Korean Defense Service medal. He also earned a sea service deployment ribbon.
The Navy SEAL website describes the Naval Special Warfare Command as a “small, elite force.”
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