Murad Dervish, 46, was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of University of Arizona Professor Thomas Meixner, police said Thursday. Photo courtesy University of Arizona Police Department
Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A professor at the University of Arizona was shot to death on the Tucson campus Wednesday, and one of his former students has been arrested in connection with the killing.
The suspect was identified as 46-year-old Murad Dervish, according to the Arizona Police Department, who also confirmed that he had once been a student of the victim, Thomas Meixner, who served as head of the school's hydrology and atmospheric sciences department.
"We have reached out to Dr. Meixner's family, and ask that their grief and privacy be respected," University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement, according to NBC News.
The shooting happened around 2 p.m. Wednesday when University police received a call about an unauthorized person inside the John W. Harshbarger Building.
"The student wasn't allowed to be in that building," Arizona Police Department Chief Paula Blafas said at a press briefing. "The caller wanted the man escorted out of the building by police."
Before authorities arrived, however, they received another emergency call that a shooting had just occurred inside the same hall.
Armed with a handgun, the suspect fled in a vehicle shortly after 2 p.m., but was apprehended about 3 hours later 120 miles west, near Gila Bend.
The victim, meanwhile, was rushed to Banner University Medical System hospital where doctors were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead.
Police did not reveal how many shots were fired nor the number of times the victim had been hit.
An investigation continues, with police looking into the motive and a possible relationship between the victim and the alleged shooter.
At the time of the shooting, classes were dismissed for the day and the campus UAlert system sent text messages to students to warn them to lockdown and stay away from the area.
Classes were expected to resume Thursday.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey went to Twitter to express his sympathies to the victim's friends and family, and also thanked law enforcement officers for their quick response.
"Arizona is praying for the family and friends of the professor and those affected by today's tragedy in Tucson," he wrote.