1 of 2 | Three people were killed and one person was injured in a shooting Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to police, who say the suspected shooter was killed in a shootout with campus officers. Photo courtesy of UNLV Photo courtesy of UNLV
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Three people are dead and one person is recovering from injuries after a shooting Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to police who said the suspected shooter was shot and killed by campus officers.
In an update late Wednesday, authorities said they know the name of the suspect, but are withholding it until next of kin has been notified. A law enforcement source told CNN that the suspect is a 67-year-old career college professor whose connection to UNLV is unknown.
UNLV also announced that the campus will be closed for the rest of the week as investigators determine a motive.
"According to our investigators at the scene, we have three deceased victims and one additional victim in critical condition at a local hospital," the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote in an updated post Wednesday afternoon. "The suspect in this active shooter incident is also deceased."
The person injured in the shooting was initially listed in critical condition, but was later upgraded to stable condition, according to LVMPD Sheriff Kevin McMahill, who credited the quick actions of police officers for saving many lives.
"There was a gathering just outside of the building where the students were playing games and eating food," McMahill said. "There were tables set up for them to play Legos, and if it hadn't been for the heroic actions of one of those police officers who responded, there could've been countless additional lives taken."
"My heart goes out to the UNLV family following today's horrific shooting that claimed the lives of three people. Our first responder community demonstrated a quick, cohesive response, which undoubtedly saved additional lives. We will be working through the night to provide answers," McMahill wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
The shooting was first reported Wednesday in a UNLV alert to students and staff, warning of shots fired near Beam Hall, which is home to the university's Lee Business School.
"University Police responding to additional report of shots fired in the Student Union," UNLV wrote in its initial post, just before noon, while ordering the evacuation of the area.
"RUN-HIDE-FIGHT," it said.
"We are responding to preliminary reports of an active shooter on the campus of UNLV near Beam Hall," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote in a post shortly after noon on X. "There appears to be multiple victims at this time. Please avoid the area and we will have more information soon."
Officers later revealed that the shooting started on the fourth floor of Beam Hall.
A student in class on the second floor of the building said his professor stopped mid-lecture after hearing a loud noise and then an alarm.
"I've never heard an alarm like that before. It didn't sound like a fire alarm," said UNLV student Brett Johnson. After locking the students inside the classroom, the professor opened the door to check that it was clear and told the students to run as fast as they could.
According to police, the shooter moved from floor to floor, targeting several classrooms before heading outside where he engaged in a firefight with UNLV officers before being struck and killed.
Less than an hour later, police provided an update, saying the suspect was dead.
"The suspect has been located and is deceased," police said, adding that they would evacuate the buildings one at a time.
One student described what she heard before being evacuated, saying there were "about 200 kids all in one space" and that "a lot of people were panicking."
"They had guns, we all walked out of the building hands up," the student who did not give her name told KVVU. "They evacuated us out of the student union. We walked past one of the windows, the window was shot through, glass everywhere."
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo issued a statement that he would continue to monitor the situation.
"My office is in constant communication with LVMPD, UNLV and all emergency response partners," Lombardo wrote, as he reposted instructions from the university.
President Joe Biden also issued a statement, calling for more action to address "the epidemic of gun violence we face."
"Just hours ago, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas became the latest college campus to be terrorized by a horrific act of gun violence," Biden said.
"For all the action we have taken since I've been president, the epidemic of gun violence we face demands that we do even more. But we cannot do more without Congress," Biden said as he urged lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban and universal background checks.
University of Nevada President Brian Sandoval urged students and staff Wednesday night to prioritize their well-being and take advantage of campus resources.
"We send our deepest sympathies, and our thoughts are with the families of the multiple victims of this terrible tragedy. Today and in the days to come we are all Rebels."