The UCLA Police Department is investigating a recent incident of violence as a hate crime. A student walking on the Westwood campus early Sunday was shot in the face with a BB gun.
A police report said the incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. when a white four-door sedan approached the student, who was walking on De Neve Drive near Rieber Hall, a dormitory in the northwestern part of campus.
A passenger in the back seat of the car yelled a homophobic slur, according to the report, then brandished a white BB gun and shot at the victim, striking the individual in the face and narrowly missing their eye.
The victim sustained a minor abrasion below the eye.
The driver of the vehicle was described as a male wearing a black ski mask, and the passenger who fired the BB gun was also a male, according to police.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Police offer safety tips
After the incident, police reiterated safety tips for students on campus.
In the event of an emergency, call 911; for non-emergencies, call the 24-hour UCLA Police Department line at (310) 825-1491.
The department says students should always be alert and aware of their surroundings. They should try to avoid poorly lighted or deserted areas when walking at night.
Students, as well as faculty and staff, can utilize the UCLA SafeRide service, which provides free transportation among campus buildings, on-campus housing and nearby residential areas. On-demand rides can be requested Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight, excluding holidays and seasonal breaks. Rides can be booked using the TripShot app available on Google Play or the App Store.
The continuous ride service SafeRide Loop operates in the evenings, arriving at designated stops around campus Monday through Friday from 6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. — a map of the route is online.
The department also has community service officers who can escort students, faculty, staff or visitors 365 days a year from dusk until 1 a.m. Students in need can call (310) 794-9255. They should reach out 15 minutes prior to departure time. A police dispatcher will ask for the person's name, location, the address where they need to go and a call-back number.
Lastly, the Police Department advises students to secure their residences by locking all windows and doors. They're advised not to leave doors to buildings propped open, including entrances to campus buildings.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.