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UC Berkeley student killed by police was motivational speaker

November 17, 2011 |  6:34 am

The armed UC Berkeley student shot and killed by police this week was a motivational speaker who told audiences the story of how he turned his life around.

Christopher Travis, 34, an undergraduate who had transferred to UC Berkeley's business school earlier this fall, died of his wounds at a hospital, officials said. He was shot Tuesday afternoon by a campus police officer in the school's computer lab after Travis pointed a loaded handgun at officers and refused orders to drop the weapon, authorities said.

In April, Travis formed a company in which he worked as a certified life coach and speaker, people who knew him told the San Jose Mercury News. The YouTube video above was posted by that company, Forbisher Group.

"That is very sad. It's hard to believe," Newark Planning Commissioner William Fitts, who had met Travis at the Toastmaster speaking group, told the paper. "He was very engaging. He was a stand-up guy. He seemed pretty normal to me. There was nothing I knew about him that indicated something like this was possible."

Police are reviewing websites on which a man matching Travis' name and description says he was employed as a security guard who worked on "police emergency response," and discusses two suicide attempts, officials said. Police also are in touch with Travis' relatives in Lodi, Calif., and are interviewing nine students who were in the lab at the time. A video camera captured at least part of the incident.

"We are looking into everything," including those websites, said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Police said Travis had a permit for his weapon, a semiautomatic Ruger, that was issued in San Jose. They have not determined a motive in the incident.

Attempts to reach Travis' family for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

An online resume identified a Christopher Travis enrolled at UC Berkeley's business school as a former security guard who had worked in "coordinating hazmat, medical, and police emergency response" and had transferred to UC from Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif.

A website for the business he reportedly ran describes Travis as a "reformed computer nerd" who had flunked out of college the first time because he skipped class to play computer games. It details a dream: "It was like I had this vision from god and when I woke up, I had discovered the secret to winning at packman. That was when I decided that I have to do something else with my life."


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