UNLV shooting: Suspect was professor who failed to get job at school

LAS VEGAS — The man suspected of opening fire Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was a professor who had unsuccessfully sought a job at the school, according to multiple reports.

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Update 5:58 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Police said that the suspect, Anthony Polito, 67, reportedly had a list of targets at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and at East Carolina University in North Carolina, according to The Associated Press.

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said in a news conference Thursday identified the suspect as Polito. He said that mailed 22 letters to university faculty members across the country before the shooting, the AP reported. The contents of the letters have not been released.

McMahil said that investigators have contacted everyone on Polito’s list except for one, the AP reported.

“None of the individuals on the target list became a victim,” McMahill said.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original story: Anthony Polito, 67, is believed to have opened fire in UNLV’s Beam Hall on Wednesday afternoon, The Associated Press reported, citing unidentified law enforcement officials. Authorities said he killed three people and injured a fourth before he died in a shootout with police.

Investigators did not immediately confirm the suspect’s name. On Wednesday night, Sheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said next of kin notification still needed to be made.

Officials are investigating whether Polito opened fire Wednesday because he was passed over for a job, sources told CNN. On a LinkedIn page that has since been taken offline, Polito described himself as a “semi-retired university professor” and shared ties to North Carolina and Georgia.

Polito worked for more than 16 years at East Carolina University in North Carolina, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, according to the AP and information from the university. He joined the university in August 2001 and resigned from his position on Jan. 17, 2017, The News and Observer reported.

Officials with the University of Georgia confirmed Thursday to WSB-TV that he had earned his Ph.D. from the school in 2002.

Police said gunshots rang out just before noon on Wednesday in UNLV’s Beam Hall, sending people running and prompting panic on campus. University police quickly responded and confronted the gunman outside the building, where he died.

The injured person who survived the shooting was in stable condition on Wednesday afternoon, McMahill said. Four other people were taken to hospitals after suffering panic attacks during the chaos, and two LVMPD officers were injured during a search of the campus.

On Wednesday, McMahill called the shooting “a heinous, unforgivable crime.”

“Importantly, there was a gathering just outside of the building where the students were playing games and eating food,” he said. “There were tables set up for them to build Legos, and if it hadn’t been for the heroic actions of one of those police officers who responded, it could have been countless additional lives taken.”

Authorities continue to investigate.

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