3 Dead, 1 Injured in UNLV Mass Shooting
The names of the victims, who were all professors, have been released.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Three people were fatally shot and another wounded in an active shooter attack on Wednesday on the campus of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV).
Just before noon, shots were reported near Beam Hall, which is home to UNLV’s Lee Business School. A short while later, shots were also fired at the student union, which is next to Beam Hall. The suspect began shooting on the fourth floor of Beam Hall and moved floor-to-floor, targeting several rooms, reports ABC News. USA TODAY is reporting that the gunman sprayed bullets into crowds at the two campus buildings.
Soon after, law enforcement swarmed the campus, finding and engaging the shooter as the gunman exited the buildings. The suspect was shot and killed by officers. Law enforcement then systematically cleared the buildings on campus, reports Fox5Vegas.
Multiple victims were transported to local hospitals, and three died, while a fourth remains hospitalized. The victims who died from their injuries have been identified as Jerry Cha-Jan Chang, Ph.D., 64, a professor in the Department of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology, Naoko Takemaru, Ph.D., 69, an associate professor of Japanese studies, and Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, an assistant professor in accounting.
UNLV police instructed students, faculty, and staff via social media and emergency notifications to either shelter in place or evacuate the area. Additionally, the public was advised to avoid the area.
“University Police responding to report of shots fire in BEH evacuate to a safe area, RUN-HIDE-FIGHT,” the school said on X.
After about an hour and a half, authorities said there was no further threat to the campus community but told those sheltering in place to continue doing so. Many of them sheltered in place for hours.
The suspect has been identified as 67-year-old Anthony Polito, a semi-retired career college professor. CNN was told the investigative theory on a possible motive is that Polito applied for a position at UNLV but was not hired.
Polito, who resided in nearby Henderson, had previously worked for schools in Georgia and North Carolina. His LinkedIn page lists his most recent full-time employment as a business professor at East Carolina University until 2017. It is not yet clear whether Polito knew any of the victims.
All UNLV and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) are closed for the rest of the day. The UNLV campus will be closed through Friday and classes and academic-related activities are canceled through Sunday, Dec. 10. Additionally, the UNLV-Dayton basketball game has been canceled. A reunification center has been set up at the North Hall 1 and 2 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information, call (702) 455-2433 or visit www.facofsouthernnevada.org.
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