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Haas Student Killed By Police On Campus

Christopher Travis walked into the third-floor computer lab of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business on Tuesday (Nov. 15) with a loaded pistol, pointed it at four university police officers and was shot to death in front of shocked classmates.

The 32-year-old Travis, an undergraduate student at Haas, focusing on global management, had been in the process of turning around his life after a severely troubled start. He had been a dropout, spending the majority of his time in front of a computer game console, eventually attempting suicide by a pill overdose.

But the California native had landed a job as a security job with AlliedBarton in 2006 and had won a promotion to a supervisory role. Travis left that post in April when he created the Forbisher Group, where he worked as an independent certified coach, teacher and speaker, helping clients with leadership skills. He transferred to the Haas School a couple of months ago.

In a blog post on his company’s home page, Travis called himself “a reformed computer nerd.” “I call myself this because when I grew up, all I did was play computer games,” he wrote. “I even flunked out of college the first time because I would skip class in order to play computer games in the dorms. However, one night I had this dream. It was like I had this vision from god and when I woke up, I had discovered the secret to winning at packman (sic). That was when I decided that I have to do something else with my life.”

Initial reports openly wondered whether Travis had been connected to the Occupy Cal protesters who were demonstrating on the other side of Berkeley’s campus on the day Travis was shot. But police now say there was no connection between the two events and are still trying to figure out why Travis brought a semi-automatic 9 mm Ruger on campus with him.

Police said Travis was shot multiple times by a university police officer after he pointed the loaded pistol at officers who were called to the scene. He refused numerous orders to drop the weapon, the school said. The officers immediately applied first aid to Travis until fire department paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.

Travis earned an associate degree in business from Ohlone College this summer, before transferring to Haas. He graduated from Ohlone with a 3.85 GPA and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Toastmasters, according to his résumé. He apparently did so well at AlliedBarton that the company featured him in a promotional video (see below).

University Chancellor Robert Birgeneau met with more than 200 Haas students, faculty and staff Wednesday to brief them on the shooting. “This is one of the most difficult times we have had as a community,” said Birgeneau at the gathering. “I want to thank the Haas staff for their alertness in this issue. It was just extraordinary. This sets an example for responsibility and alertness. I also want to thank the police for their very quick response. Our heart goes out to the family of this young man.”


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.