Thursday, May 23, 2024

The man who shot and killed four faculty members on Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was a professor who had tried and failed to get several jobs at colleges in the state, authorities said on Thursday. The gunman, Anthony Polito, 67 was living in a Las Vegas suburb and was killed by the police during a shootout after his rampage, officials said. Mr. Polito also shot and injured a fourth person, a man identified as a 38-year-old visiting professor who was being treated at a hospital for life-threatening wounds. Shortly before the shooting, the police said, Mr. Polito had mailed 22 letters to employees at universities across the country, at least one of which contained an unknown white powder that was later determined to be harmless.

The Clark County coroner’s office identified two of the people who were killed as Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, an assistant professor of accounting, and Cha Jan Chang, who went by Jerry and was a professor of management information systems.

Mr. Polito taught at the business school at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., for nearly 16 years, until 2017. Sheriff McMahill said the police were still trying to understand the gunman’s exact motive, but that he had made a list of people he was seeking on the U.N.L.V. campus as well as at East Carolina University. Students had been exiting classes when they heard gunshots and ran to cower in classrooms with the lights turned off. Michele Pearson, a 54-year-old occupational therapist who lives in a neighboring building, said that the apartment complex where the gunman lived was quiet. Caution tape blocked off the section of the complex where Mr. Polito’s apartment was, next to a small pool, with two police officers standing in front of his building.

David Lenzin, 25, a computer engineering student from Calgary, Alberta, had returned to collect things from a design competition that was held by the engineering department on Wednesday. For many students on campus — nearly 90 percent of whom are Nevadans — the shooting recalled the horrors of the 2017 attack at a country music concert just a few miles away. That shooting, the deadliest in modern American history, left 60 people dead and hundreds more injured. U.N.L.V.’s president, Keith E. Whitfield, said on Thursday that Professor Navarro Velez joined the university about five years ago. He resisted the idea of closing off the campus to the city around it. Kitty Bennett contributed research. Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.

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