Three Faculty Members Killed in Shooting at University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Suspect Identified as Anthony Polito

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The suspect in a deadly shooting at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, had a list of targets at the school and at East Carolina University in North Carolina, Las Vegas police said Thursday. The suspect, identified as Anthony Polito, also sent out 22 letters with no return address to university faculty members across the United States, said Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill.

In a tragic turn of events, three faculty members were killed and a fourth was wounded by a gunman who opened fire on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus before dying in a shootout with police, according to university officials. The shooting took place in the building housing UNLV’s business school, leaving the campus and community in shock and grief.

UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield expressed his condolences in a heartfelt letter to students and staff, calling the incident “the most difficult day in the history of our university.” Two of the victims have been identified as business school professors Patricia Navarro-Velez and Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang. The name of the third victim is being withheld until relatives have been notified.

The wounded man, a visiting professor, remains in life-threatening condition, according to the latest update from the police. The shooting took place on the fourth floor of the Lee Business School, where faculty and staff offices for the accounting and marketing departments are located. The victims were highly respected educators, dedicated to their fields of study.

Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39, was an accounting professor with a Ph.D. in accounting, specializing in research on cybersecurity disclosures and data analytics. Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, was an associate professor in the Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology department, and had been teaching at UNLV since 2001. He held degrees from Taiwan, Central Michigan University, and Texas A&M University, and earned his Ph.D. in management information systems from the University of Pittsburgh.

The suspect, Anthony Polito, was a longtime business professor and had purchased a .9mm handgun legally last year, according to Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill. Polito had applied for several jobs at various colleges and universities in Nevada but was denied each time. Before the shooting, he had mailed 22 letters to university faculty members across the U.S., though the contents of these letters are still unknown.

Authorities have been working diligently to investigate the motive behind the shooting. They searched Polito’s apartment in Henderson, Nevada, and recovered several electronic devices, including his cellphone. Polito had previously worked as a professor at East Carolina University in North Carolina from 2001 to 2017 before resigning as a tenured associate professor.

Former students of Polito have come forward with unsettling accounts of his behavior. Paul Whittington, who took Polito’s class in 2014, described the professor as fixated on the city of Las Vegas and overly concerned with negative student reviews. Whittington mentioned that Polito would go on tangents about his frequent trips to Las Vegas and would often threaten students who gave him bad reviews.

The attack at UNLV has left the city of Las Vegas on edge, as it still grapples with the aftermath of the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history in October 2017. The lessons learned from that tragedy have helped authorities respond swiftly and effectively to the UNLV shooting, minimizing further loss of life.

Students and faculty at UNLV experienced moments of terror as they hid in classrooms and dorms while the gunman roamed the business school. Kevaney Martin, a faculty member at UNLV’s journalism school, described the experience as “terrifying” and shared her relief when she received word that a suspect had been detained.

While the incident has left the community in shock, it has also highlighted the importance of preparedness and safety measures on college campuses. UNLV has canceled classes through Friday and various events have been postponed or canceled to allow the community time to heal and come to terms with the tragedy.

As investigations continue, the focus remains on supporting the victims’ families and providing resources for the students and staff affected by this senseless act of violence. The UNLV community is coming together to mourn and support one another in this difficult time.

If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the authorities..