UPDATE: Authorities: 3 dead, shooter also killed at University of Nevada, Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A gunman killed three people and critically wounded a fourth Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before being killed in a shootout with police, authorities said. The attack sent shock waves through a city still scarred by the deaths of 60 people in a 2017 mass shooting only a few miles away on the famous Strip.
Reports of shots fired at about 11:45 a.m. sent police swarming onto the campus while students and professors barricaded themselves inside classrooms and dorm rooms.
UNLV Police Chief Adam Garcia said at an evening news conference that campus and local police rushed to the scene, a building housing UNLV’s Lee Business School, where two university detectives killed the suspect during a shootout.
Authorities gave the all-clear about 40 minutes after the first report of an active shooter.
Sheriff Kevin McMahill said students had gathered outside the building to eat and play games. If police hadn’t killed the attacker, “it could have been countless additional lives taken,” he said.
“No student should have to fear pursuing their dreams on a college campus,” the sheriff said.
Authorities didn’t immediately release any additional details about the shootings, the victims, the suspect or a possible motive.
Professor Kevaney Martin took cover under a desk in her classroom, where another faculty member and three students took shelter with her.
“It was terrifying, I can’t even begin to explain,” Martin said. “I was trying to hold it together for my students, and trying not to cry, but the emotions are something I never want to experience again.”
Martin said she was texting friends and loved ones, hoping to receive word a suspect had been detained. When another professor came to the room and told everyone to evacuate, they joined dozens of others rushing out of the building. Martin had her students pile into her car and drove them off campus.
“Once we got away from UNLV, we parked and sat in silence,” she said. “Nobody said a word. We were in utter shock.”
Students and the community were alerted to the emergency by a university post on X that warned: “This is not a test. RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.”
The university said the shooter was at the Beam Hall, Frank and Estella Building, and that police responded to an additional report of shots fired at the nearby student union.
Student Matthew Felsenfeld said he and about 12 classmates barricaded their door in a building near the student union.
“It’s the moment you call your parents and tell them you love them,” said Felsenfeld, a 21-year-old journalism student.
Jordan Eckermann, 25, said he was in his business law class in a second-floor classroom when he heard a loud bang that he thought came from a neighboring music class.
But then a piercing alarm went off, sending students to their feet. Some ran from the room in panic while others heeded the professor’s urging to stay calm, said Eckermann, who walked out and was directed to an exit by a law enforcement officer in a bulletproof vest holding a long gun.
UNLV’s 332-acre (135-hectare) campus is less than 2 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip. it wasn’t immediately clear how many of the 30,000 students were on campus.
The shooting occurred in a city still scarred by one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history, the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre by a gunman in which 60 people attending a music festival were killed and hundreds more were wounded. The gunman opened fire from a high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay casino. The UNLV campus is just over 3 miles (5 kilometers) from that location.
In response to the campus shootings, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop of all flights coming into Harry Reid International Airport. The university is roughly 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of the airport.
Classes were canceled through Friday at the university, and UNLV’s basketball game at the University of Dayton, Ohio, was canceled Wednesday night because of the Las Vegas shootings.