Three dead, gunman killed in US university shooting

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Three people were killed and another seriously injured by a gunman who was shot dead by police at a US university on Wednesday.

The incident at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a short distance from the gambling hub’s tourist-packed Strip, was the latest in the United States, where gun violence is a part of the fabric of daily life.

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“Three of the victims are confirmed deceased,” Las Vegas Sheriff Kevin McMahill told a press conference.

He said a fourth victim had been critically injured by the shooting but that condition later upgraded to stable.

Emergency crews and law enforcement respond to a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus in Las Vegas on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
Emergency crews and law enforcement respond to a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus in Las Vegas on December 6, 2023. (AFP)

The identity of the shooter was not immediately released, but CNN and the Los Angeles Times, quoting law enforcement sources, said he was a 67 year old career college professor with links to schools in Georgia and North Carolina. But it was not clear what affiliation he had with the Nevada university where the shooting took place.

US President Joe Biden in a statement decried the latest “horrific act of gun violence” to terrorize a college campus.

Police responded within minutes to reports of an active shooter at 11:45 am (1945 GMT), McMahill told a press conference.

Two officers “immediately engaged the suspect in a shootout” and the suspect “was struck and is deceased at this time,” said university police chief Adam Garcia.

The incident began as an outdoor gathering of students was taking place.

“Students were playing games and eating food, there were tables set up for them to build Legos,” said McMahill.

“If it hadn’t been for the heroic actions of one of those police officers who responded, there could have been countless additional lives taken.”

Police did not provide any further information on the identities of the victims or gunman, and are in the process of notifying next-of-kin.

‘Loud booms’

One woman told local broadcaster KVVU that she had heard a series of loud noises and fled into a building on the campus, from which she was later evacuated by police.

“I was just having breakfast and then I heard three, like, loud booms,” she told the station.

“Then two more, and then police showed up there and ran inside... but then after two minutes boom, boom, boom, more shots. So I ran into a basement, and then we were in the basement for 20 minutes.”

Emergency crews and law enforcement respond to a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus in Las Vegas on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
Emergency crews and law enforcement respond to a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus in Las Vegas on December 6, 2023. (AFP)

Officers were continuing to search the campus, which will remain closed through Friday, but “there is no more ongoing threat to our community,” the sheriff said.

Las Vegas is a gambling and entertainment hub that attracts millions of visitors every year, many of whom come to see large, high-profile events.

Last month, the city played host to its inaugural Formula One Grand Prix. It is currently hosting basketball’s NBA Cup at the T-Mobile arena, just two miles (three kilometers) away from the scene of the shooting.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James sent condolences to affected families during a press conference Wednesday, in which he also voiced anger about the grim regularity of mass shootings.

“It makes no sense that we continue to lose innocent lives, on campuses, schools, at shopping markets and movie theaters and all type of stuff. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

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