Mon Oct 28, 2002

Shooting at the University of Arizona

There’s been a shooting at the U of A’s College of Nursing, a few blocks from where I live and work. CNN has a headline but few details. The local radio here says that the shooting happened this morning, during an exam; that two instructors at the Nursing School were shot dead; and that the gunman then killed himself. From what I can gather, it happened in a classroom around 8:45 or 9:00am. The radio is reporting that the student/killer told the instructors something like “You may not care if you flunk me, but I care—- make your peace with God”, and then shot them. However I don’t really know if that’s true. For one thing, another strand in the story says the gunman moved all the other students out of the classroom first. Here’s a story from the Tucson Citizen with quotes from witnesses. The gunman was apparently an older student who worked at the VA Hospital.

This kind of thing is really disturbing for Profs like me—- especially if the guy really was motivated by unhappiness about a grade. After all, students are always unhappy about their grades! What am I supposed to do, buy a gun myself or something? It’s appalling.

Update: Local TV news is now saying that four people are confirmed dead, not three as earlier reported. A second story with the same number is here.

Update: New information about the killer, from KOLD News: “The gunman who shot and killed three people at the University of Arizona before killing himself was a student. University Vice Provost Elizabeth Irvin identified the gunman as Robert Stewart Flores. Tucson Police Chief Richard Miranda says Flores apparently committed suicide after opening fire inside a U-of-A nursing classroom. Flores was a Gulf War veteran and licensed practical nurse. Flores apparently was flunking out of the U of A’s nursing program. Irvin says he already had failed a pediatric class and was struggling in a critical care class.”

Update: The Wildcat has a story up with the most detail I’ve seen so far.