The man who shot and killed three University of Nevada Las Vegas employees and wounded another in a shooting rampage on Wednesday was a former professor who had applied for a job at the university but was not chosen for the position, according to police.
Anthony Polito, 67, has been identified as the suspected white, male perpetrator of the deadly attack that appeared to target only faculty and staff — not students — on the fourth floor of UNLV’s Lee Business School.
He was killed in a confrontation with law enforcement, police said.
“Sources said investigators have now determined that the victims killed were faculty or staff, not students. That suggests to detectives that the rampage may not have been random, but may have been an attack that targeted certain people because of some sort of previous relationship or interactions, according to a source,” NBC news reported.
Authorities have yet to state publicly their beliefs on the gunman’s primary motive.
Polito previously worked at East Carolina University in North Carolina, the Raleigh-based WRAL reported.
“Polito began working at ECU in 2001 as an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the College of Business. He resigned from ECU in 2017 as a tenured associate professor,” the news station reported. “Polito’s ties to North Carolina date back to 1991, when he graduated from a weekend MBA program within Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, according to school records.”
On his LinkedIn, Polito called himself a “semi-retired university professor,” adding one of his “greatest gifts and takeaways I possess from my many years within higher education are the many kind & positive comments students made regarding my instruction and disposition toward them,” reported NBC news.
Both NBC and WRAL reported that previous students said in interviews and on professor rating websites that they enjoyed his classes and he was a great professor.
The names of the victims have yet to be released, pending notification of family members, police said. UNLV canceled classes through Sunday and have provided students and staff with counseling services, the university stated in a news release.
“We will forever remember and honor those we have lost and who were injured. I’m grieving for the victims of today’s senseless shooting, and my heart breaks for the many students, faculty, staff, parents, loved ones, and community members who suffered through hours of painful uncertainty while officers ensured that our campus was safe and secure again,” UNLV President Keith Whitfield stated.
IMAGE: ABC news