Mainak Sarkar apparently entered his estranged wife’s Brooklyn Park home through a broken window in order to kill her before driving to California to kill a UCLA professor, authorities said Friday.
Brooklyn Park police found the body of Ashley E. Hasti, 31, about 1:25 a.m. Thursday inside her home in the 2400 block of Pearson Avenue.
“While all preliminary evidence suggests that Mr. Sarkar is the suspect, there is significant physical evidence that is being analyzed to assist in confirming his involvement,” Brooklyn Park police said in a news release Friday. “It is expected to take several weeks for results.”
Hasti died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to a Hennepin County medical examiner’s report issued Friday. “Because this was an unwitnessed death, a more accurate date and time of death cannot be determined,” the report said.
Authorities have said they believe Sarkar, 38, of St. Paul, killed Hasti shortly before he drove to California where he killed UCLA Professor William S. Klug on Wednesday. Sarkar then killed himself.
Sarkar apparently believed Klug had stolen some of his work while he was a doctoral student at UCLA. He had listed Hasti, Klug and a second professor on a “kill list” that St. Paul police discovered during a search of his North End apartment Wednesday. The second professor was off campus at the time and unharmed.
The list led police to Hasti’s home. She and Sarkar married in 2011 after meeting in California.
Hasti’s maternal grandmother, Jean Johnson, said that Hasti and Sarkar separated about a year after their marriage and that they lived in separate homes. Johnson said that Hasti’s father and sister also lived at the Brooklyn Park home but that they spent less time there after Hasti’s mother, Colleen, died in 2011.
Hasti, who had been enrolled at the University of Minnesota Medical School since 2012 and was registered for summer classes, was likely home alone so she could study, Johnson said.
She said Hasti’s father and sister often stayed at a home in Crystal. They could not be reached for comment.
Johnson recalled Hasti as perpetually curious. She graduated from high school a year early and departed the Twin Cities for Taipei, Taiwan, where she studied for a year. She later traveled to India, China and other countries.
“She’s quite a girl,” Johnson said Friday.
Sarkar had landed well-paying jobs in his field, but he had trouble keeping them because of sleep issues, Johnson said. Nothing in his past, she said, would lead her to believe he could lash out so violently.
“He was a … milquetoast — just quiet and shy,” Johnson said. “Maybe he felt like he had some kind of a family [with Hasti and her family], and she ruined it. I don’t know.”
Brooklyn Park police said they had no prior contact with Hasti or Sarkar. Sarkar has no violent criminal record.
A spokesperson with the Los Angeles Police Department, which is leading the investigation, said Friday that the case remains under investigation.