Accident – Death – Obituary News : PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Following a tragic shooting incident at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Archbishop George Leo Thomas of Las Vegas expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and survivors. The shooting, which occurred on December 6, claimed the lives of three individuals and left another critically injured. Archbishop Thomas offered his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the tragedy.
The incident unfolded around 11:45 a.m. local time when reports of gunshots prompted the university to go into lockdown. Local law enforcement swiftly responded to the scene, leading to a shootout with the suspect at a building housing the university’s business school. The suspect, identified as Anthony Polito, a 57-year-old professor who had been denied a job at the university, was ultimately killed in the confrontation.
Among the victims were two faculty members, ChaJan “Jerry” Chang, 64, and Patricia Navarro Velez, 39. Their loss has deeply saddened the university community. Archbishop Thomas offered comforting words to those affected, invoking the Lord’s compassion and solace during this challenging time.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has approximately 30,000 students enrolled. Situated less than two miles east of the famous Las Vegas Strip, the campus has unfortunately become associated with tragedy. In October 2017, a gunman carried out a mass shooting at a music festival just over three miles away from the university, resulting in 60 deaths and numerous injuries.
This latest shooting adds to the alarming trend of gun violence in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, it marks the 630th mass shooting in 2023 alone. The archive defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four individuals are killed or injured. While the figure is lower than in previous years, with 645 and 690 mass shootings recorded in 2022 and 2021 respectively, it underscores the urgent need for action to address this ongoing issue.
Tragically, gun violence has claimed the lives of over 40,000 individuals in 2023, including approximately 22,500 suicides and 17,600 homicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive. These startling numbers highlight the devastating impact of firearms on communities across the country.
In a separate incident, a man named Shane James was charged with two counts of capital murder in Texas. James went on a rampage, killing his parents and four others in separate attacks in Austin and San Antonio. He also wounded a cyclist and two police officers. The senseless violence has shocked the local community, prompting Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin to express his horror and call for prayers and healing.
The shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is the 42nd mass killing recorded in 2023, resulting in 217 deaths, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University. The criteria for mass killings in this database is the death of four or more individuals within a 24-hour period, excluding the perpetrator. The FBI uses the same definition to track such incidents.
In response to the recent shootings, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden offered their prayers to the victims and their families. President Biden also emphasized the need for action on gun violence, referring to it as an “epidemic” that demands federal intervention. He called on Republicans to join Democrats in passing gun control legislation to prevent further tragedies like those witnessed in Texas and Las Vegas.
As the nation grapples with the persistent problem of gun violence, communities and leaders continue to advocate for stricter gun control measures to protect lives and promote a culture of peace. With each devastating incident, the urgency to address this issue grows stronger, and the hope for a safer future remains a priority for stakeholders across the United States..