Nevada university gunman ‘was academic who failed to get job’

Anthony Polito, a former business school academic, killed at scene in Las Vegas

December 8, 2023
 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Source: iStock

The academic who shot and killed three members of staff at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas had previously applied to work at the institution, according to reports.

The three faculty members, along with the suspect, Anthony Polito, died after the shooting on 6 December on the UNLV campus. A fourth staff member remains in hospital.

Las Vegas police said they were called to a shooting at the campus business school at 11.45am, where they encountered Polito and exchanged fire.

The former business professor was later pronounced dead, with officers finding a list of possible targeted individuals on his body. None of the victims were named on the list.

Police also learned that Polito had dropped off 22 pieces of mail to various university personnel across the country. The department said a white powder found inside the envelopes was found to be harmless.

According to reports, he had unsuccessfully applied for several jobs at various colleges and universities across Nevada.

CBS News reported that Polito, 67, had applied for a position at UNLV but did not get the job, and state officials said this might have been a factor in the attack.

He was a professor in North Carolina from 2001 to 2017, working at East Carolina University’s department of marketing and supply chain management.

Two of the victims have been identified by UNLV as members of the business school – Patricia Navarro-Velez, an assistant professor of accounting, and Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, an educator of management information systems who had spent more than 20 years there.

The third victim, also a UNLV faculty member, will be identified after notification of the next of kin.

Keith Whitfield, president of the institution, described the incident as “the most difficult day in the history of our university”.

“Words are still hard to come by as we’re only beginning to process the grief, loss, anger and fear associated with Wednesday’s tragic campus shooting,” he said.

“My heart breaks for the families, friends and loved ones of Dr Navarro and Dr Chang, and for all of the victims of this senseless act of violence that has physically and emotionally affected so many.”

The incident is the latest shooting to have occurred on a US campus this academic year, with several campuses having been affected by attacks.

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