In a shocking and devastating turn of events, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was plunged into chaos as a 67-year-old college professor, Anthony Polito, went on a deadly rampage, leaving three faculty members dead and a visiting professor fighting for his life. The motive behind the attack remains a mystery, but police have uncovered a chilling detail – Polito had a list of targets at the school, although none of the victims were on that list.
The horrifying incident unfolded on Wednesday when Polito arrived at the UNLV campus armed with a 9mm handgun and nine loaded magazines. He parked his 2007 Lexus in a nearby lot before entering Beam Hall, a building within the university’s business school. At 11:45 a.m., the first reports of gunfire echoed through the halls, sending students and professors into a state of panic.
As the gunman roamed the upper floors of the five-story Lee Business School, terror gripped the campus. The swift response from university and city police was commendable, with the first officer arriving within 78 seconds of the initial report. A shootout ensued near the main entrance of the building, resulting in Polito’s death.
Inside Beam Hall, the authorities discovered the lifeless bodies of two faculty members on the third floor and another victim on the fourth floor. The wounded survivor, believed to have been shot on the fifth floor, managed to make it to the ground floor before seeking help. The university community mourns the loss of two esteemed professors, Patricia Navarro-Velez and Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, while the identity of the third victim is being withheld pending notification of relatives.
The investigation into Polito’s motive is ongoing, but a disturbing pattern has emerged. He had applied for multiple teaching positions at various colleges and universities in Nevada, only to be rejected each time. Financial struggles also plagued Polito, as evidenced by an eviction notice found at his apartment. Inside, detectives discovered a document resembling a last will and testament, hinting at a troubled state of mind.
Further revelations have shed light on Polito’s actions leading up to the attack. Prior to heading to campus, he stopped at a post office in Henderson, where he mailed 22 letters to university faculty members across the country. Some of these letters contained an unknown white powder, later determined to be harmless. The nature of the letters and their contents remain undisclosed at this time.
UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield expressed his grief and called the shooting the most difficult day in the university’s history. The victims, Navarro-Velez and Chang, were highly respected professors within the business school. Navarro-Velez focused on research in cybersecurity disclosures and data analytics, while Chang taught in the Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology department.
The UNLV community is left grappling with the aftermath of this senseless act of violence. The incident has sent shockwaves through a city still healing from the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, which occurred in Las Vegas in 2017. As investigators delve deeper into Polito’s background and motives, the university remains closed, with plans to reopen next week for final exams.
The tragic events at UNLV serve as a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the need for continued efforts to prevent such acts of violence. As the community mourns the loss of three beloved faculty members, questions linger about what drove Anthony Polito to commit this heinous act. Only time and a thorough investigation will provide the answers that so many seek.