The first victims of the mass shooting at the University of Nevada have been identified as a professor and an assistant professor affiliated with the college's Las Vegas campus. Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39, a faculty member in the university's accounting department has been identified as one of the three staff members who lost her life in Wednesday's shooting.
The second victim has been identified as Cha Jan 'Jerry' Chang, 64, a longtime professor at the university. The coroner ruled that Chang succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head, while Navarro-Velez was killed from multiple gunshot wounds, as reported by 8NewsNow. A third victim, also a faculty member, has been identified.
Killed for No Reason
However, the third victim will not be named until their next of kin is informed. In a statement, UNLV President Keith Whitfield said that the mass shooting marked the "most difficult day in the history of our university."
He conveyed his heartfelt sympathy for the families, friends, and loved ones of Dr. Navarro and Dr. Chang.
Navarro-Velez and Chang lost their lives in a 40-minute rampage carried out by 67-year-old professor Tony Polito. Not associated with UNLV, Polito had reportedly applied for a job at the university but was rejected.
Navarro-Velez was a mother of four, as told by her former professor at the University of Puerto Rico, David Correa, to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
She was first identified in an Instagram post shared by the California All-Stars Las Vegas Cheer Gym. Which said, "Our hearts are shattered as we share the devastating news of the loss of a beloved member of our Cali family in yesterday's senseless shooting.
"Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the Navarro-Velez family during this unimaginably difficult time," the post said.
According to her university profile, Navarro-Velez earned a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Central Florida. Her research focus included areas such as "cybersecurity disclosures and assurance, internal control weakness disclosure, and data analytics."
Tragic Loss of Lives
Chang, the other victim, was a business professor with over two decades of experience at UNLV, specializing in management information systems. Following the news of his death, a former student expressed their gratitude on an education rating site, saying that they were "fortunate" to be taught by him and lamenting that he was "taken away so soon."
"We respect all the hard work and dedication you've put into UNLV and the MIS department, we thank you for all that you have done for us," they added.
During the shooting spree, a fourth person was also shot but is reported to be in stable condition, as confirmed by Sheriff Kevin McMahill during a Wednesday night press conference.
When the shooting unfolded, a significant police presence, including tactical teams, rushed to the college after an alert was issued to students advising them to "RUN-HIDE-FIGHT."
Less than an hour after the alert, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced that the suspect was dead. Terrified students were gradually escorted out of buildings across the campus, video footage showed.
As of Thursday afternoon, UNLV closed all buildings and services, with the exception of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and dining room. Officials have said that the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.