SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KTLA) — Family members of a 38-year-old Cal State San Bernardino grad student who was fatally shot by police say he suffered from bipolar disorder.
Bartholomew Williams, who was working on his second master’s degree in educational instructional technology, was shot around 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the University Village dorms.
University police were called to the on-campus dorm after a report of a disturbance involving Williams in the common area.
Three officers arrived at the scene and they encountered Williams in a hallway, where the situation quickly escalated.
Authorities say Williams became violent and physical, and that pepper spray and baton strikes were not sufficient to subdue him.
“He was on top of the officer, kicking the officer in the torso and the head,” said San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams. “The other officers feared for the officer’s safety and they discharged their weapons.”
Both a male and a female officer fired on Williams. He was hit at least once in the torso and was declared dead at the scene.
Two of the officers involved suffered minor injuries. One of them was hit with pepper spray, which police say the suspect somehow managed to grab.
All three of the officers have been place on paid administrative leave. Their names were not immediately released.
Campus officials said Williams began at CSUSB in the summer of 2011, but he was only taking one course this past term, which ended on Friday.
Williams’ parents told KTLA that their son grew up in Oregon and also attended the University of Virginia and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
They say that, at 21 years old, Bartholomew was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Investigators say that he was not taking his medication.
“Three officers in a small, confined area, and still he gained the upper ground,” said university spokesman Sid Robinson.
He called the shooting, which happened just hours after the Fall semester commencement, a “tragedy” and a “terrible way” to end the semester.
“The university really does express its sadness and sympathy to the family and friends of the student,” Robinson said. He added that San Bernardino police will handle the investigation of the shooting.
Students who were on campus at the time said the campus sent email alerts moments after the shooting.
“The campus is really safe,” student Mathieu Gabreel told KTLA. “You can see police everywhere. This is just a rare occasion.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” student Christopher Mitchell said. “You hear things all the time… but never anything to this magnitude.”