Las Vegas campus shooter sent ‘white powder’ letters to 22 universities, police say
The third victim who was killed in Wednesday’s shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has been named as Dr Naoko Takemaru.
Dr Takemaru was named after her next of kin were informed by the coroner’s office, UNLV president Keith Whitfield said in a statement.
“With sadness, I write to you to mourn the tragic passing of Dr Naoko Takemaru, who this morning was confirmed to be among the three UNLV faculty members who lost their lives during Wednesday’s shooting,” Mr Whitfield said.
The first two victims of the shooting were identified as professor Cha Jan Chang, 64, known as “Jerry,” and assistant professor Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, of Las Vegas, on Thursday.
It comes after Las Vegas police released new video purportedly showing suspect Anthony Polito moments after his shooting rampage at the University of Nevada‘s Las Vegas campus.
The footage emerged after investigators revealed that 67-year-old Polito had a “target list” - but none of his alleged victims were on it.
Police previously confirmed that Polito was a career college professor who had applied for – but failed to be accepted for – a job at UNLV.
Polito previously worked as a professor at colleges in Georgia and North Carolina, and kept a personal website where he proudly documented his academic achievements – and claimed to have solved the Zodiac Killer case.
According to police, he had a previous criminal history of computer trespass out of Virginia in 1992.
On the day of the shooting Polito was armed with a Taurus nine-millimeter handgun, which had been purchased legally in 2022. He had brought 11 magazines to the scene with him. Nine loaded magazines were found on his person.
Gunman was “obsessed” with student reviews: former student
One of Polito’s former students at East Carolina, Paul Whittington, told The Associated Press that Anthony Polito often talked about his regular trips to Las Vegas.
He also seemed obsessive over anonymous student reviews at the end of each semester, Whittington said.
Polito told Mr Whittington’s class that he remembered the faces of students who gave him bad reviews and would express that he was sure who they were and where they sat, pointing at seats in the classroom, Mr Whittington said.
“He always talked about the negative feedback he got,” said Mr Whittington, now 33, who took Polito’s intro to operations management class in 2014.
“He didn’t get a lot of it, but there would always be one student every semester, or at least one student every class, that would give a negative review. And he fixated on those.”
Recap: What we know about the UNLV shooting
The gunman behind Wednesday’s attack has now been officially named by police as 67-year-old Anthony Polito.
Two of the three deceased victims have also been named, with a fourth also still recovering in hospital.
A motive is yet to be established. Here’s what we know so far:
While authorities reassured the commmuntity that there was ‘no further threat,’ many questions still remain, largely to do with the shooter and their motive. Mike Bedigan looks at what we know so far
What was the motive for the shooting?
Police currently do not have a motive for the killings, and said investigations would likely take a long time.
Sheriff McMahill told the press conference: “We will be conducting this investigation into the wee hours of the morning, there is no doubt.
“I know you have an insatiable appetite like I do to find out why, to understand motivation, and we will provide that to you at the appropriate time.”
Las Vegas police are now searching an apartment in Henderson, Nevada, believed to be connected to the gunman, ABC News reported.
Police have also seized the suspect’s cellphone and professional papers to look for possible clues as to the motive for the attack.
Watch: Police respond to shooting at University of Nevada
UNLV students ‘no longer feel safe’ on campus after shooting
UNLV students have told of their horror after a gunman killed three people on campus and injured a fourth.
Police said the suspect, identified only as a 67-year-old college professor, shot at students in Beam Hall, where the college’s Lee Business School is located.
Journalism student Shainna Alipon told ABC7 she heard gunfire from inside the Student Union Building next door.
“We made our way down the stairs of the building just to escape and while we were walking down, we heard even more gunshots. I said ‘oh my gosh, I hope the shooter doesn’t come to the building where we’re at,’” she said.
“My editor-in-chief, he was kind of snapping me out of it, he was like, ‘hey can I borrow your phone? We have to take video of this; you know, we’re the press,’ and I was like, ‘oh shoot - you’re right.’ So I snapped out of it, started taking more videos, started talking to a little more people trying to see ‘hey is everyone on your end OK? What do you think is going on?’ It kind of solidified for the first time today - ‘oh I am a journalist; this is like my job,’” Ms Alipon added.
Meanwhile, Tinio, from Hercules, California told ABC he no longer fells safe on campus.
“I don’t feel safe anymore. Finals are next week and all of our finals are supposed to be in-person,” he said.
“It just makes me feel scared for the future because it’s getting closer and closer to me, closer and closer to my family, people who I love.”
Who are the three people killed in the UNLV shooting?
Assistant professor of accounting Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39, is among those dead, as well as Dr Cha Jan Chang, 64.
Both died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Clark County coroner.
Ms Navarro-Velez joined UNLV five years ago after receiving her PhD in accounting from the University of Central Florida, and her MAcc from Bowling Green State University, as well as a BBA in accounting from the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce.
Meanwhile, Dr Chang was a longtime educator of management information systems, who had spent more than 20 years of his academic career teaching a generation of UNLV Lee Business School students, said college president Kevin Whitfield.
The third victim, who is also believed to be a faculty member, has not yet been identified by police.
A fourth person, who has been identified only as a 38-year-old male who was a visiting professor, was injured in the attack and is in hospital in a stable condition, police said.
It is not clear if there is a connection between the victims and the gunman or if they were specifically targeted in the mass shooting.
Latest pictures from UNLV after three people killed in shooting
What happened in the UNLV shooting?
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department chief Kevin McMahill said Anthony Polito was armed with a handgun and a stash of ammunition when he allegedly shot four faculty members at around 11.45am on Wednesday morning on the campus of the University of Nevada in Beam Hall, where the college’s Lee Business School is located.
UNLV Police Chief Adam Garcia said that he first opened fire on the fourth floor of the building before he moved through several other floors.
An “active shooter” alert was sent to students, staff and faculty, while on- and off-duty police officers rushed to the location where they found Polito outside of Beam Hall armed with a handgun. A shootout unfolded and the 67-year-old was then shot dead by police.
Three victims, including assistant professor Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39, and Dr Cha Jan Chang, 64, were killed in the attack. The third victim, who is also believed to be a faculty member, has not yet been identified by police.
A fourth person, who has been identified only as a 38-year-old male who was a visiting professor, is in hospital in a stable condition, police said.
The active shooter alert was lifted and an all-clear given around 40 minutes after the first reports of gunfire.
At a press conference shortly afterwards, sheriff McMahill said there was “no further threat” to the community.
Winter graduations at UNLV to proceed as planned
Keith Whitfield, president of UNLV, said that winter graduation ceremonies at the college would continue as planned on December 19 and 20, in spite of the shooting.
Mr Whitfield said he had heard from students and parents and that “One common thread that emerged was a desire to come together” in the aftermath of Wednesday’s tragedy.
“The milestone moment of commencement is the most special day on the university calendar, and it’s in difficult times like these that we can and should celebrate our graduates’ academic dreams fulfilled.
“We know that the trauma of this week’s tragedy impacts each one of us in different ways. For those eligible to participate in this winter’s commencement who choose not to attend at this time, you will have the option to walk and participate fully during the May 2024 commencement ceremonies.
“We believe these decisions regarding finals and commencement provide flexibility for both students and faculty, and offer the best path forward for our university.”
In a statement posted to the UNLV website, Mr Whitfield also thanked the students, faculty and staff.
“Your resilience amidst near insurmountable adversity continues to amaze me. In the short time since Wednesday’s incident, I’ve met with some of you to listen and to learn, and I acknowledge the pain, fear, and anxiety that many are experiencing right now. I feel it too,” he said.
GoFundMe page for Navarro family raises almost $35,000 in under 24 hours
A GoFundMe page, set up in honour of UNLV shooting victim Patricia Navarro, has raised almost $35,000 in less than 24 hours.
The page, set up by Bryan Campbell, described the Navarro family as “very much loved, kind and caring”.
“It’s with an extremely heavy heart for me to have to write this, but our CA family and Las Vegas community suffered a great loss yesterday and we are devastated and heartbroken,” the description read.
“Any support that can be given to this family is appreciated. We hope you are able to send your support for memorial and travel arrangements.
“Your generosity will make a world of difference in efforts to support the family and their time of grieving.”
All funds will go directly to the Navarro family.