Ex-student shoots and kills professor in University of Arizona building

A former student fatally shot a faculty member inside a University of Arizona building on Wednesday afternoon, sending the campus into lockdown as officers searched for the shooter, it said. the police.

Police said the shooting took place shortly after 2 p.m. inside the John W. Harshbarger Building near East Second Street and North Mountain Avenue. The building houses the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. The victim was identified as a male professor in the Department of Hydrology, but his name was not immediately released.

Chief Paula Balafas of the University of Arizona Police Department shared information about the shooting death of a male professor on October 5. The suspect, Murad Dervish, 46, was arrested by the Public Security Department near Gila Bend three hours after the shooting.

Video by Jesse Tellez/Arizona Daily Star.

Jesse Tellez

UA Police Chief Paula Balafas said the suspect was arrested by the Department of Public Safety shortly after 5 p.m. on Interstate 8 in Gila Bend. He has been identified as Murad Dervish, 46.

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Balafas said just after 2 p.m., UA police received a call from someone inside the building stating that a former student was there and the former student was not allowed to enter. in the building. The person asked officers to come to Harshbarger and escort him. Before officers arrived minutes later, another caller reported a shooting inside the building.

Two people embrace after a shooting at the John W. Harshbarger Building on the University of Arizona campus.

Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star

“Someone recognized the student and knew he was not allowed to enter the building,” Balafas said. She said the time between the initial call and the shot call was only a “matter of minutes”. It was not revealed on Wednesday why Dervish was not allowed to enter the building.

The campus was locked down and students and staff were told to shelter in place for over an hour as police searched for an armed man. The shooter was identified by police, but had fled the building before officers arrived.

Video shot outside the building showed Tucson firefighters carrying a man outside the building to a waiting ambulance. The patient was then placed on a stretcher and put into the ambulance, which quickly drove away. The victim was taken to Banner-University Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Veer Nayyar, an undergraduate student, was nearby when he heard sirens and saw officers running into the building. Later, he saw emergency personnel put a victim on a stretcher. Nayyar said the victim appeared to be an elderly person and he did not see anyone running from the scene.

A faculty member who was in the building at the time said he heard seven to ten gunshots. The faculty member asked not to be identified.

Police officers from the University of Arizona and Tucson at the scene of a shooting at the John W. Harshbarger Building on the University of Arizona campus.

Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star

All remaining classes, activities and in-person performances on the UA campus have been canceled for the remainder of Wednesday, according to an update from UA Police. Around 3:30 p.m., UA police said the campus lockdown and shelter-in-place had been lifted, but people should stay away from the Harshbarger building. No decision had been made on whether there would be in-person classes on Thursday. The building where the shooting took place will be closed indefinitely.

Balafas encourages students and faculty who may be shaken by the incident to get in touch with UA Counseling and Psychology Services. CAPS is able to provide advice in the event of a crisis.

“I don’t know what the suspect’s problem was in this case, but if you see something, don’t just say something, do something. If you know someone with mental health issues or anger issues, please contact him,” Balafas said. said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a shooting at UA College of Nursing in which three professors were killed by a failing student, who later committed suicide on October 28, 2002.

Most recently, a 20-year-old UA sophomore was fatally shot in a campus parking lot on February 20, 2021. Forrest Keys was killed during a confrontation with three people in a car that drove him passed late at night. Two 18-year-old men were sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder.

The University of Arizona campus was closed Wednesday afternoon following a shooting inside the John W. Harshbarger Building near East Second Street and North Mountain Avenue. Video by Rebecca Sasnett and Pascal Albright/Arizona Daily Star.

Pascal Albright

Rebecca Sasnet

Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her by email at jdonnelly@tucson.com

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