Former UNLV Professor with Ammunition and a Target List Engages in Fatal Shootout, Police Reveal

by Gabriel Martinez
UNLV shooting

A 67-year-old former college professor, identified as Anthony Polito, engaged in a fatal shootout at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which resulted in the deaths of three faculty members. Polito, who had been denied employment at several Nevada colleges and universities, entered a UNLV campus building armed with loaded handgun magazines.

The incident, which took place in Beam Hall of the business school, culminated in Polito’s death during an exchange of gunfire with the police. At the time of his death, he possessed nine magazines for a 9mm handgun, purchased legally the previous year, and a list of intended targets at the university, though the actual victims were not on this list.

The attack, which occurred approximately 10 minutes following the initial reports of gunfire, left another victim, a 38-year-old visiting professor, in critical condition. The motive behind Wednesday’s violence remains unclear.

In the context of this incident, the broader issue of gun ownership in America is highlighted. The increasing absolutism in the interpretation of the Second Amendment by U.S. courts has been linked to the surge in firearms and resultant mass shootings. This escalation in gun violence threatens other fundamental rights, including the right to safely attend school, worship, and pursue happiness.

The university, in response to the tragedy, announced a temporary closure, planning to reopen the following week for final examinations.

Details of the event reveal that Polito arrived on campus shortly before the shooting began, concealing ammunition in his waistband. The shooting prompted a rapid response from university and city police, leading to a confrontation near the main entrance where Polito was fatally shot.

Investigators found two victims on the third floor and one on the fourth floor of Beam Hall. They believe the wounded professor was shot on the fifth floor but managed to reach the ground level.

The sheriff disclosed that Polito brought over 150 rounds of ammunition, suggesting a potential plan to target the student union adjacent to the business school. Polito also carried a “target list” with names of faculty from UNLV and East Carolina University, where he previously taught. However, none on the list were harmed.

Before the incident, Polito, who appeared to be struggling financially, mailed 22 letters containing a harmless white powder to university faculty across the U.S. The nature of these letters remains undisclosed.

UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield identified two of the deceased professors, Patricia Navarro-Velez and Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, while withholding the name of the third victim pending family notification.

This shooting has deeply affected a community still recovering from the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting, raising concerns about ongoing gun violence and its impact on public safety and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UNLV shooting

Who was involved in the UNLV campus shooting?

The shooter was identified as Anthony Polito, a 67-year-old former college professor who had previously been denied employment at several Nevada colleges and universities.

What happened during the UNLV shooting?

Anthony Polito entered a building on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus armed with loaded handgun magazines and engaged in a shootout, resulting in the death of three faculty members and leaving one visiting professor critically injured.

What was found with the shooter at the UNLV incident?

Police discovered that Anthony Polito was carrying nine magazines for a 9mm handgun, a list of intended targets at the university, and over 150 rounds of ammunition. None of the actual victims were on the target list.

What was the motive behind the UNLV shooting?

The motive for the shooting remains unclear. However, it is known that Polito had been repeatedly denied employment at various Nevada colleges and universities.

What impact did the UNLV shooting have on the campus?

Following the incident, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas temporarily closed and planned to reopen the following week for final examinations.

How has the UNLV shooting highlighted issues of gun control?

The incident underscores the broader issue of gun ownership in America and the increasing absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment, contributing to the rise in gun violence and mass shootings.

More about UNLV shooting

  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas Official Statement
  • Clark County Sheriff’s Department Press Release
  • Overview of Gun Control Debates in the U.S.
  • UNLV Campus Security Measures Post-Incident
  • Historical Context of Gun Violence in American Universities
  • The Second Amendment and Its Interpretation in Modern America

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DaveRunner December 8, 2023 - 7:59 am

read the whole article, its scary to think this happened so close to home, we need to do more about mental health and guns.

Mike_in_Vegas December 8, 2023 - 8:45 am

honestly, this is just another tragic example of why we need stricter gun laws. when will it end?

LisaJ87 December 8, 2023 - 1:43 pm

just read this, can’t believe how many rounds he had? and that target list, what was he thinking?

JohnSmiht December 9, 2023 - 3:46 am

Wow this is really shocking stuff, never thought i’d see something like this at UNLV, stay safe everyone.

KarenP December 9, 2023 - 4:45 am

its so sad to hear about the professors, my heart goes out to their families and the UNLV community.


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