The college professor who opened fire at a Las Vegas college campus sent 22 letters “to various University personnel across the country” at least one of which contained “an unknown white powder” prior to the shooting, police have said.
Anthony Polito visited a post office in nearby Henderson on Wednesday morning and sent the letters “with no return address”, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department chief Kevin McMahill told a press conference on Thursday.
“We are currently working with the postal inspector and our federal partners to begin processing these letters. We do not know the contents of these letters and we’re working to contact the recipients of those letters,” he said.
Mr McMahill continued: “In the screening of those envelopes that we were able to intercept, after going through 14,000 pieces of mail and identifying the 22 that were sent, the first letter that we opened had an unknown white powder substance in it.
“Our armor unit, detectives are out currently processing those envelopes and what we’re asking is that if anybody in the education world receives a letter with a no return address that is taped, we asked you to proceed with caution and contact your local authorities.
“Have particular attention from the ones that have been addressed are those that Carolina and UNLV.”
Despite this, Mr McMahill said that investigators were still working to establish a motive for the attacks.
“I want to stress that we’re still learning a lot about this suspect is still trying to understand motive,” he said.
“We know he applied numerous times for a job with several Nevada higher education institutions, and was denied, each time he was rejected,” he said.
Mr McMahill added that the suspect had “a list of people he was seeking on a university campus” as well as faculty from the Eastern Carolina University.
“We have contacted almost everyone on those lists to make sure that they are all right. We have done that for all of UNLV and all of Eastern Carolina with the exception of one individual who is on an international flight,” Mr McMahill told a press conference.
Polito was “struggling financially” at the time before the shooting, as evidenced by an eviction notice taped to his door when authorities executed a search warrant, Mr McMahill said.
“We believe the suspect acted alone and we have zero indication of any other suspects at this time,” Mr McMahill said.
A document “similar to a last weill and testament” was found at Polito’s residence in Henderson.