UNLV Shooter Had List of Other Targets, Sent Envelopes to University Personnel Across U.S.

Before the shooting at UNLV, the gunman mailed 22 letters without return addresses to professors across the country.

UNLV Shooter Had List of Other Targets, Sent Envelopes to University Personnel Across U.S.

Photo courtesy UNLV

UPDATE DECEMBER 11, 2023:  Naoko Takemaru, 69, was identified as the third victim killed in Wednesday’s mass shooting at UNLV. She was an associate professor of Japanese studies, hired by the school in 2003, reports NBC News.

Takemaru and the other two victims who were killed — Cha-Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, and Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39 — were all in Beam Hall when they were fatally shot. The fourth victim who was seriously injured was a visiting professor.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police detectives are asking anyone who was on the UNLV campus near Beam Hall and the student union, taking video on December 6 between 11:30 a.m. and noon, to reach out to investigators.

As of Monday morning, the following update was provided by the school:

“UNLV buildings can be accessed to retrieve belongings with the assistance of University Police Services. Beam Hall remains closed. The staging area for those coming to campus is the UNLV Transit Center (UTC). Contact UPD at 702-895-5575. Any vehicle that was left on the main campus can be accessed and retrieved. Please continue to check in at unlvSTRONG.unlv.edu.”

ORIGINAL DECEMBER 8 ARTICLE:

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The 67-year-old active shooter who killed three people and injured one other at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), on Wednesday had a list of other people he was targeting at the school, as well as at East Carolina University (ECU) in North Carolina, his former place of employment.

None of the UNLV faculty members who were the shooter’s targets became victims. Instead, investigators believe that when the gunman couldn’t locate his intended victims, he shot others who happened to be in the building.

Additionally, law enforcement officials say that before the shooting at UNLV, the gunman mailed 22 letters without return addresses to professors across the country, reports the Associated Press.

Federal authorities were able to locate all of the letters. The first letter that was opened contained a white powder, which was later identified as talcum powder, reports ABC News. Tests are in the process of being conducted on the other letters.

Two of the deceased victims have been identified as Cha Jan Chang, 64, an associate professor, and Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, an accounting professor, reports CBS News. Authorities are waiting to release the identity of the third deceased victim until their next of kin can be notified. The third victim was also not a student.

The fourth victim who was wounded is a 38-year-old visiting professor. His condition was downgraded on Thursday to life-threatening from critical.

Police say the shooter appeared to be having financial problems. When detectives went to his apartment after the shooting, an eviction notice was taped to his front door.

The gunman was a tenured associate business professor at ECU from 2001 to 2017 but resigned. Recently he had applied for jobs at UNLV as well as other colleges in Nevada but was denied each time.

At the time of the shooting, the gunman had more than 150 rounds of ammunition. The gun used in the attack was purchased legally.

The UNLV campus will be closed through Friday and classes and academic-related activities are canceled through Sunday, Dec. 10.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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