Two men detained by LAPD after disturbing Taper Hall lecture

The third man involved in Tuesday’s incident has yet to be located by DPS or the LAPD.

Two men were detained after disrupting a class in Taper Hall on Tuesday, according to DPS. Students in the class reported they saw one of the men brandishing a firearm, but DPS Chief Carlisle said they believe the incident was a prank.

“[The men] created a disturbance which resulted in the students running out of the classroom,” said Interim DPS Chief David Carlisle. “Two of the three were detained, one was not located, have been transported to LAPD southwest division for further investigation.”

The two men caught were detained and transported to the LAPD after disrupting the Jewish Studies: 211 class in Mark Taper Hall. Despite students from the class reporting that the man had a gun, Interim DPS Chief Carlisle stated that they believe “those claims are inaccurate” and that the incident was one elaborate prank. The third man has yet to be located as of publishing. It is unclear if these three men were affiliated with the university.

Avery Kotler was sitting in the class when three men entered the room looking for someone specific, yelling that their father, “owed them millions” while reaching to grab something from a silver briefcase.

“I was near the door and I started running out,” the junior studying music industry said. “Everyone just left in a really big panic.”

Avery Bystrom, a freshman studying environmental studies, was also present in the building at the time of the disturbance.

“I turn behind me and the entire building’s worth of kids are running outside,” she said. “There was a girl crying, clearly very upset.”

In an email to students obtained by Annenberg Media, professor Benjamin Ratskoff said that he is in touch with the university about ensuring a disturbance like this does not happen again.

“While it appears that the event was a part of some kind of prank, the intrusion naturally created panic, as lectures on the Holocaust, antisemitism, and racism have previously been targets for harassment and violence,” professor Ratskoff wrote in the email. “I myself made the split-second decision that it was better to follow those fleeing students rather than to wait and see if this was indeed a prank.”

This is a developing story. Annenberg Media reached out to LAPD for additional comment but has not received a response at the time of publication.