Suspect in Las Vegas University Shooting Named as College Professor

The gunman who killed three people and wounded a fourth in a mass shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has been identified.

via: The Guardian

The suspect in the killing of three people at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus has been named as a college professor who had failed to win a job there, according to police officials.

A fourth victim was critically wounded in the attack, which took place at approximately 11.45am local time, the Las Vegas metro police department said.

Students and professors were forced to barricade themselves in classrooms and dormitories across the 332-acre (135-hectare) campus after getting an alert about a shooter. At approximately 12.30pm local time, the police department said the suspect had “been located and is deceased”.

The gunman was a professor who had unsuccessfully sought a job at the school, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told the Associated Press. He previously worked at East Carolina University in North Carolina, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information publicly.

Citing multiple sources in law enforcement, ABC News identified the suspect as Anthony Polito, 67, and said he was also linked to a college in Georgia.

Terrified students and professors cowered in classrooms and dorms as the gunman roamed the floors. The UNLV police chief, Adam Garcia, said at an evening news conference that two university detectives immediately got into a shootout with the killer. He was reportedly armed with a handgun and began his attack on the fourth floor before being killed outside the building.

ABC reported that investigators believe the victims were faculty or staff, not students.

Officials said there was no ongoing threat and that police had set up a hotline for people affected by the shooting.

The Associated Press reported that a Swat team that appeared to be with the FBI was seen moving on to campus just before 1pm after the police reported that the suspect was dead.

Vincent Perez, a UNLV English professor who was sheltering in place, told MSNBC that he heard a series of repeated shots and what “sounded like a high-powered weapon – just echoing, echoing in a way that … makes you realize this is somebody out to kill people”.

Three students told NBC News they were giving a presentation when they learned of a shooter and had to be evacuated. They said they were in a building with many windows, with one student saying her first thought was, “Get down, make sure you’re safe, make sure everyone else is safe.”

After announcing that the suspect had died, the university said police were continuing to evacuate buildings, and that all UNLV and Nevada system of higher education facilities would remain closed for the rest of the day.

The public university, home to more than 30,000 students, is located about a mile and a half from the Las Vegas strip. The campus is not far from the site of the 2017 massacre at an outdoor musical festival which killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.

Lessons learned from that shooting – the deadliest in modern US history – helped authorities to work “seamlessly” in reacting to the UNLV attack, Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference.

Wednesday’s reports came a day after a series of shootings in Austin left six people dead and three others injured. A reported former military member was charged.

Earlier this week, the US broke its own record for the most deadly mass shootings in a single year.

A series of murders took the figure to 38 incidents in which four or more people, not including the shooter, were shot and killed. The previous high was 36, set last year.

Associated Press reported that UNLV professor Kevaney Martin took cover under a desk in her classroom, where another faculty member and three students took shelter with her.

“It was terrifying. I can’t even begin to explain,” Martin said. “I was trying to hold it together for my students, and trying not to cry, but the emotions are something I never want to experience again.”

Martin said she was texting friends and loved ones, hoping to receive word a suspect had been detained. When another professor came to the room and told everyone to evacuate, they joined dozens of others rushing out of the building. Martin had her students pile into her car and drove them off campus.

“Once we got away from UNLV, we parked and sat in silence,” she said. “Nobody said a word. We were in utter shock.”

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