Three people are dead and one victim remains hospitalised in stable condition after a shooting on a Las Vegas college campus.
Police said that the suspected gunman was killed by responding officers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after the shooting on Wednesday.
According to CNN, the suspect is a 67-year-old career college professor. Citing law enforcement sources, the outlet reported that the suspect has connections with schools in Georgia and North Carolina, but it is unknown what connection the suspect had with UNLV.
The suspect had begun firing on the fourth floor of Beam Hall, where the business school is located, and made his way outside where two campus police officers engaged and shot him dead, say officials.
Officials say that four people were transported to hospital after suffering panic attacks, and two officers suffered minor injuries searching the “vast rooms and buildings” on the campus.
“No student should have to fear pursuing their dreams on a university campus. What happened today was a heinous and unforgivable crime but it is something we train for every day,” said sheriff Kevin McMahill on Wednesday night.
The sheriff praised the “seamless” law enforcement response and said that the death toll could have been significantly higher without it as students were playing games and eating lunch near the scene.
The sheriff said that they had identified the suspect but would not be releasing his name until next of kin had been contacted.
“I would like to reiterate to all of you that there is no more ongoing threat to our community here in Las Vegas,” he said.
“I would also like to tell you that we do know the identity of the suspect in this case, but I will not be releasing his name tonight until after the next of kin notification.”
Earlier sheriff McMahill told a press conference that investigators “have no idea on the motive” for the shooting, which took place just days before students went home to their families for the Christmas break.
Officials are not yet releasing any information about any victims of the shooting, according to Adam Garcia, the director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Police Services.
“What I can tell you as well is that the entire Nevada System of Higher Education in Southern Nevada, campuses are all closed on an abundance of caution,” he said.
“There is no threat to any other campus but we are doing this out of an abundance of caution.”
Following the shooting, the university, which has an enrolment of more than 30,000 students on its 332-acre campus east of the famed Las Vegas Strip, asked people to remain sheltered in place until told to move by police.
“Police ask that you continue to please shelter in place. Police are evacuating buildings one at a time. This remains an active investigation. The suspect has been contained,” UNLV stated on X.
The first reports of the shooting came in at 11.59am PST on Wednesday, and police initially responded to Beam Hall.
“We are responding to preliminary reports of an #ActiveShooter on the campus of UNLV near BEAM Hall. There appears to be multiple victims at this time. Please avoid the area and we will have more information soon,” stated Las Vegas Metro Police Department on X on Wednesday.
UNLV warned its students, faculty and staff that it was not a drill and that shots had been fired.
“University Police responding to confirmed active shooter in BEH. This is not a test. RUN-HIDE-FIGHT,” it stated.
UNLV then said that there had been additional reports of shots at the student union.
#BREAKING We are responding to preliminary reports of an #ActiveShooter on the campus of UNLV near BEAM Hall. There appears to be multiple victims at this time. Please avoid the area and we will have more information soon. pic.twitter.com/iylYGPhr33— LVMPD (@LVMPD) December 6, 2023
“University Police responding to additional report of shots fired in the Student Union, evacuate the area, RUN-HIDE-FIGHT,” UNLV wrote on X.
Several students who were in the Beam building told CNN that they had sheltered in place for around 30 minutes until being escorted to safety by police.
They told the news network they had heard multiple gunshots and saw that a window had been shot through.
Scores of flights were delayed across the US as the Federal Aviation Administration put a ground stop in place at nearby Harry Reid International Airport for flights arriving in the city.
Officials stated that the ground stop was put in place because of a “security incident,” according to an alert from the FAA.
The UNLV campus is just a short distance from the site of the 2017 mass shooting where a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd from a suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 60 people.
A reunification centre has been set up at the Las Vegas convention centre to help victims of Wednesday’s shooting, according to fire chief John C Steinbeck.
“On behalf of the entire first responder community... our hearts go out to any of the families that are affected by this,” he told a press conference.
“Our update right now is that we do have a reunification centre that has opened up at the convention centre, that’s at the north hall.
“It will take time to transport students over to that area, but if you can’t get a hold of your loved ones right now, your kids or somebody that you’re concerned with, then that would be the place to go and to try to go ahead and do that reunification.”
The city’s Sunrise Hospital Trauma Centre says it received three patients from the shooting.
“This afternoon, Sunrise Hospital Trauma Centre has received a patient from the UNLV campus active shooter incident,” said Marissa Mussi, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Centre spokesperson. “Our hearts go out to the UNLV community, their families and everyone impacted by this tragedy.”
A men’s basketball between UNLV and the University of Dayton set to be played on Wednesday night in Ohio was cancelled, the Dayton men’s team announced.
“Due to the tragic events unfolding on UNLV’s campus, tonight’s men’s basketball contest between UNLV and the University of Dayton will not be played. Further information will be released when available. We ask that our fans keep the UNLV community in their thoughts and prayers,” Dayton’s team said in a statement.