Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Mentally Ill CSUSB Grad Student Fatally Shot By Campus Cops

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Campus police at Cal State San Bernardino fatally shot a 38-year-old mentally ill graduate student who had been powerfully resisting restraint by authorities.

Bartholomew Williams was shot five times Saturday night in a school-operated housing complex by officers who said the man exhibited "superhuman strength," according to the San Bernardino Sun.

The student suffered mental illness--specifically bipolar, according to Inland News Today--and family members told investigating officers they believed Williams was off his medication.

Campus police, who reported having two prior encounters with Williams earlier that same day, were aiming to take the 6-foot tall and 200-pound student in for a psych eval, but while they were cuffing him, the encounter turned violent.

Support for LAist comes from

San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams described what followed as "a prolonged, violent struggle between the suspect and the officers," that lasted an estimated three to seven minutes, or perhaps longer. (Authorities say they will have a more specific timeline established once they have done more investigating into the shooting.)

Officers say they tried verbal commands, then pepper spray, then baton strikes, in order to subdue Williams, however none of their methods were effective. At one point the suspect was able to take the pepper spray away from the officer; he sprayed that officer, and later kicked him in the head when the officer was on the ground.

Lt. Williams said it was then the officers were "fearing for the life" of their colleague, and opted to open fire on the suspect.

Bartholomew Williams was shot dead.

All of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, pending further investigation.