Accident – Death – Obituary News : Gunman Identified as Financially Struggling Academic in University Shooting
Las Vegas, Nevada – In a shocking turn of events, authorities have identified the gunman responsible for the tragic shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The suspect, Anthony James Polito, 67, was a financially struggling academic whose job applications had been rejected by several higher-education institutions in Nevada. Police revealed that Polito had also mailed nearly two dozen suspicious letters to faculty members at universities across the country. Additionally, he had prepared a “target list” of individuals at both UNLV and a university in North Carolina where he had previously worked.
Polito, who was facing eviction from his home in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, had a criminal record of computer trespass dating back to 1992 in Virginia. However, authorities stated that there were no prior signs of violence from him. The Taurus 9mm handgun used in the shooting had been legally purchased by Polito in 2022. Sheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that Polito was believed to have acted alone and was subsequently shot dead by the police.
While the precise motive for the rampage remains under investigation, officials have stated that students were not the primary targets. All four individuals shot inside Beam Hall, the building that houses UNLV’s business school, were faculty members. Two of the deceased professors have been identified as Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, and Patricia Navarro Velez, 39. The identity of the third slain professor is being withheld pending notification of the family. The surviving victim’s condition has worsened, and he remains hospitalized.
Further details emerged during the investigation, revealing that Polito had visited a post office shortly before the shooting to mail 22 letters with no return address to university personnel across the United States. Detectives also discovered a list of individuals he was seeking on the UNLV campus, as well as faculty members from his former employer, East Carolina University in North Carolina. Polito’s LinkedIn profile described him as a semi-retired associate professor of business who had taught at East Carolina from 2001 to 2017.
Authorities intercepted the letters before they were delivered and found a suspicious white powdery substance in at least one of them. The contents of the letters are still being investigated, and Sheriff McMahill cautioned anyone in higher education who receives a similar envelope to exercise caution and contact the authorities. Efforts are underway to notify the intended recipients, and officials have already contacted nearly everyone on the target list to ensure their safety.
Financial struggles were also revealed as a possible contributing factor to Polito’s actions. An eviction notice was found taped to the entrance of his apartment, and a document resembling a will was discovered inside. Sheriff McMahill stated that Polito had applied multiple times for jobs at various higher-education institutions in Nevada, though it is unclear if UNLV was among them. During the search of Polito’s home, authorities also recovered ammunition similar to the 150 rounds he was carrying during the shooting.
As a result of this devastating incident, the UNLV campus will remain closed through Friday, and classes have been canceled until December 10. The university community is reeling from the loss of beloved faculty members and grappling with the aftermath of this senseless act of violence.