Shooting of UCLA student with a BB gun being investigated as a hate crime

Los Angeles, CA - May 17: Signage and people along Bruin Walk East, on the UCLA Campus in Los Angeles, CA, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Students take a break on Bruin Walk East on the UCLA campus in May. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The UCLA Police Department is investigating a recent incident of violence as a hate crime. A student walking on the Westwood campus early Sunday was shot in the face with a BB gun.

A police report said the incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. when a white four-door sedan approached the student, who was walking on De Neve Drive near Rieber Hall, a dormitory in the northwestern part of campus.

A passenger in the back seat of the car yelled a homophobic slur, according to the report, then brandished a white BB gun and shot at the victim, striking the individual in the face and narrowly missing their eye.

The victim sustained a minor abrasion below the eye.

The driver of the vehicle was described as a male wearing a black ski mask, and the passenger who fired the BB gun was also a male, according to police.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Police offer safety tips

After the incident, police reiterated safety tips for students on campus.

  • In the event of an emergency, call 911; for non-emergencies, call the 24-hour UCLA Police Department line at (310) 825-1491.

  • The department says students should always be alert and aware of their surroundings. They should try to avoid poorly lighted or deserted areas when walking at night.

  • Students, as well as faculty and staff, can utilize the UCLA SafeRide service, which provides free transportation among campus buildings, on-campus housing and nearby residential areas. On-demand rides can be requested Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight, excluding holidays and seasonal breaks. Rides can be booked using the TripShot app available on Google Play or the App Store.

  • The continuous ride service SafeRide Loop operates in the evenings, arriving at designated stops around campus Monday through Friday from 6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. — a map of the route is online.

  • The department also has community service officers who can escort students, faculty, staff or visitors 365 days a year from dusk until 1 a.m. Students in need can call (310) 794-9255. They should reach out 15 minutes prior to departure time. A police dispatcher will ask for the person's name, location, the address where they need to go and a call-back number.

  • Lastly, the Police Department advises students to secure their residences by locking all windows and doors. They're advised not to leave doors to buildings propped open, including entrances to campus buildings.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.