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Gunman Shot by Police at UC Berkeley Amid Occupy Demonstrations

"This is a historical moment, but it is also really scary at the same time."

BERKELEY, Calif. (The Blaze/AP) — A day of demonstrations by students and anti-Wall Street activists was disrupted Tuesday when a campus police officer shot a man with a gun about a half-mile from the main protest site at the University of California, Berkeley.

The shooting occurred inside the Haas School of Business as hundreds of demonstrators left an outdoor plaza at the university for a march to demonstrate outside a bank.

Officials did not know if the suspect was part of the Occupy Cal movement, said Ute Frey, a spokeswoman for the university.

"I just hope it wasn't from the protest or the movement, because that's not what the movement is about," said Sadia Saif, a 19-year-old sophomore at UC Berkeley.

University officials said a man carrying a gun was seen by a female staff member in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. The staff member called police at 2:17 p.m., saying she saw the man remove the gun from a backpack.

Police said they arrived at 2:19 p.m., and had to locate the suspect in the building. Officers found the suspect in a third-floor computer room where there were at least four students, university officials said.

The suspect raised the gun and was shot by an officer, according to the school. The condition of the 33-year-old suspect was not immediately known. His name was not released.

Dong Hwan Kim, 27, a senior, said he was terrified when he learned of the shooting.

"The shooting, in addition to what's happening here with the protests, makes the campus feel really tense," Kim said. "This is a historical moment, but it is also really scary at the same time."

Protesters descended on the university after ReFund California, a coalition of student groups and university employee unions, called for a campus strike, and protesters marched and rallied to protest banks and budget cuts to higher education.

Earlier in the day, more than 1,000 students, campus employees, faculty and other demonstrators filled an outdoor plaza after many took part in teach-ins. The plaza was covered with banners that read "stop the cuts" and "educate the state."

"If the only people who can come here in the future are those who have money, it's going to hurt everyone's educational experience," said Daniel Rodriguez, 28, a graduate student who was conducting an introductory Spanish language class outside.

Bands played on the steps of the plaza, as hundreds of students gathered for a noon-time rally billed as a kickoff for a day of activities that included a speech by UC Berkeley professor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Occupy Oakland activists were marching to the campus Tuesday after police cleared a tent city outside Oakland City Hall on Monday amid complaints about safety and sanitation, and arrested 33 people.

Occupy Cal activists said they would try again to establish an encampment Tuesday night, when Reich is scheduled to deliver his speech on class warfare on the steps of Sproul Hall.

On Nov. 9, baton-wielding police clashed with protesters who tried to set up tents and arrested 40 people as the university sought to uphold a campus ban on camping.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau launched an investigation into allegations that campus police used excessive force. He said videos of the protests were disturbing, and he plans to grant amnesty to all students who were arrested and cited for attempting to block police from removing the tents.

"The events of last Wednesday are unworthy of us as a university community," Birgeneau wrote in a letter Monday to the campus.

Oscar Varela, 21, a fifth-year economics major who helped organize Tuesday's demonstrations, was among the students who tried to block campus police from tearing down the campus encampment.

The Occupy Cal activists planned to vote on re-establishing a camp on campus at 5 p.m. at its general assembly meeting.

"We want to stay here to prove to the regents and state that we are part of this movement and that we want our tuition to go back to what it used to be, which essentially should be free," Varela said.

UC Berkeley officials were determined Tuesday to avoid a repeat of last week's violence, said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

"We will learn from what happened and do everything that's necessary to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

One last thing…
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