Las Vegas shooter dead after killing 3 in campus assault on two buildings: Updates

A shooter at UNLV sprayed bullets into crowds at two campus buildings during a lunchtime assault Wednesday that killed at least three and caused panic among students, who ran in horror from end-of-semester classes before the shooter was gunned down by police.

Another person is in critical condition, Las Vegas police said. The motive for the shooting remained unclear.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas confirmed shortly after noon local time on X there was an active shooter at the Frank and Estella Beam Hall, and the college said 20 minutes later that more shots were fired at the Student Union. Police said the gunman was killed by officers who rushed to the scene to stop the attack.

"There’s no further threat," said Kevin McMahill, sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He said officers were still searching for other people who may have been hurt or killed.

"Officers are going unit by unit building by building . . . to make sure we don’t have any additional victims," McMahill said.

The university announced the campus and all Nevada System of Higher Education institutions in southern Nevada were closed for the rest of the day.

Adam Garcia, a vice president of public safety services and director of university police services at UNLV, said the campus will be closed through Friday. Garcia said the university will decide later whether to extend the closure, noting final exams were scheduled for next week.

The shooting happened in a city that was the site of one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history, the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. A gunman fired from his upper-level hotel room, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more.

Wednesday's assault brought widespread fear around the campus. There have been 630 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The archive defines a mass shooting as at least four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including the shooter. In 2022, there were 646 total mass shootings in the U.S.

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said state officials are in "constant communication" with UNLV and Las Vegas police. "If you are on campus, please continue to follow their instructions as the campus is evacuated," he posted on X.

President Biden says national mass shooting problem 'not normal'

President Joe Biden said the nation's mass shooting problem can never be regarded as normal.

He urged Congress to pass bills banning assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. It's unknown what type of gun the shooter used in Nevada.

Biden also encouraged Congress to enact universal background checks, pass safe storage laws and other "commonsense measures" to thwart the spread of gun violence.

"And together, we must do more to prevent more families, and more communities like Austin, San Antonio, and Las Vegas, from being ripped apart by gun violence," he wrote.

Professor checks on students to 'make sure they are alive'

All across campus, students and faculty members huddled in locked rooms while they waited for the all-clear. Among those were Prof. Leslie Griffin, who said she and two students were sheltering in her office.

"We haven't seen anything," Griffin told USA TODAY around 2:15 p.m. local time. "We got quick notice from UNLV and locked our doors. We are sheltering until the police come by to tell us we can leave."

While waiting for the all-clear in his office, UNLV law school Prof. Michael Kagan said he emailed all his students to ask them to check in. Kagan said he didn't hear any shots but was sheltering in place per university guidance.

He tweeted: "I am used to sending emails to students to ask where their paper is. Today I am sending emails just to make sure they are alive."

Speaking to USA TODAY as he anxiously awaited more responses, Kagan said he walks through the student union daily for coffee or lunch.

"I've heard from about half of them so far," Kagan said of his students. "The worrying thing is that because it's exam week, that someone who got done with exams early went to get lunch over there."

"It's surreal. I'm hoping that in the end in a totally selfish way hope everyone is ok," he said, before hanging up to speak with his worried daughter. "I would just like to know that all of my students are ok."

Student locked down in library

UNLV student Emily Wagner confirmed to USA TODAY Wednesday she was locked down for hours in Lied Library with about 25 others and downed phone lines.

"Several people were crying in the library," she said. "I think people might be scared for a while."

Wagner, 26, said the day started out normal with campus being a bit busier with students studying for their upcoming finals. She was about 800 feet from the scene of the shooting.

"I was working the front desk at the commons, and a few students approached me and said they heard there was an active shooter," Wagner told USA TODAY.

She looked outside the graduate commons to see people rushing outside. Wagner and others in the library locked and barricaded the exits and sat on the first floor until police gave them the all-clear.

"I’m still a little concerned because of the rumors that have been swirling around (ie multiple suspects), and Vegas has a history of shootings so I’m very much hoping there’s no copycat," she said, pointing to the previous massive Las Vegas assault.

In that shooting, Stephen Paddock, 64, killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Oct. 1, 2017, along the Vegas strip. More than 800 people were injured in the 11-minute shooting spree where Paddock shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people. Paddock later died by suicide.

Law student says final exams postponed

Ben Robinson, a UNLV law student, told USA TODAY he was still sheltering at the university's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building as of 3:19 p.m. local time. He was there studying for his finals.

"I was alerted that there was a shooting when a girl came in the building having just ran from the shooting," he said. "She was in shock."

Robinson said he and others have been handing water to law enforcement and directing them to bathrooms. His friends who sheltered in other buildings told him authorities patted down everyone and knocked down any locked doors.

Final exams at the law school are postponed through the weekend, he said.

"Right now, I’m just hoping to go home and spend time with my wife and 3 kids and process everything," Robinson said.

Ohio basketball game canceled

A UNLV basketball game in Dayton, Ohio, was cancelled according to the University of Dayton.

"Due to the tragic events unfolding on UNLV’s campus, tonight's men's basketball contest between UNLV and the University of Dayton will not be played," the team posted on X. "Further information will be released when available. We ask that our fans keep the UNLV community in their thoughts and prayers."

University of Dayton President Eric Spina said, "Our hearts go out to the entire UNLV community as they deal with this tragedy."

"We pray for healing and strength for UNLV students, faculty, and staff, along with the first responders and their entire community," Spina said, adding that Dayton is ready to provide support to UNLV personnel who are in Ohio for the game.

At a news conference Wednesday, NBA star LeBron James expressed his concerns about gun violence across the country.

"The ability to get a gun, the ability to do these things over, and over, and over, and there's been no change is very ridiculous and makes no sense that we continue to lose innocent lives on campuses, at schools, at shopping markets and movie theaters and all type of stuff is ridiculous," he said.

About the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

UNLV is a public university founded in 1957 just north of the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. It has more than 25,000 undergraduate students and more than 4,200 graduate students, according to fall 2022 student statistics shared by the university. About 70% of the students who attend the university are minorities, 32% of which are Hispanic, 15% are Asian and 12% are two or more races.

What is Beam Hall?

Beam Hall, formally known as the Frank and Estella Beam Hall is a facility housing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Lee Business School. The five-story hall opened in 1983 and has about 115,000 square feet of space, according to the university.

The building is regularly used by students, having central offices for economics, finance, management and marketing undergraduate majors, plus the university’s masters programs in business administration.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: University of Nevada, Las Vegas assault: Cops slay gunman who killed 3