Ex-student opens fire killing beloved University of Arizona professor on campus

University of Arizona Professor Thomas Meixner was reportedly shot and killed Wednesday afternoon inside a building on campus allegedly by an unhinged former student identified as Murad Dervish, who has since been taken into custody.

(Video Credit: ABC15 Arizona)

The suspect opened fire inside the John W. Harshbarger Building on the university’s main campus in Tucson, Arizona at approximately 2 p.m. The school immediately went into lockdown for more than an hour.

Dervish, 46, was subsequently arrested for the murder around 5 p.m. on Interstate 8 in Gila Bend, which is over 100 miles away, according to Tucson.com. He reportedly used a handgun. No motive has been revealed to the public yet.

The beloved 52-year-old professor and head of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences never stood a chance. The school confirmed his death in a statement following the death of Meixner.

“We have lost a beloved member of our University of Arizona community,” University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins emotionally proclaimed in a statement.

(Video Credit: FOX 10 Phoenix)

“This incident is a deep shock to our community, and it is a tragedy. I have no words that can undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss, and I am pained, especially for Tom’s family members, colleagues, and students. I encourage you to have compassion for one another and to care for yourselves and those around you during this difficult time,” he added.

It is unknown why the former student was not supposed to be in that building. Before the shooting took place, campus police received a call from a person inside the building reporting that Dervish was on the premises without proper access. The caller requested that officers come and escort him out of the building, according to police.

Police were en route when they received another call that shots had been fired in the building.

By the time police arrived on the scene, Dervish had fled the building and was on the run. He was seen running out the main doors of the building and away from the scene.

“Someone recognized the student and knew that he was not allowed inside the building,” University of Arizona Police Chief Paula Balafas told Tucson.com in an interview.

During a news conference, Balafas stated that the shooting “rocked everyone’s world” and really affected the first responders who responded to the scene.

“It’s a tremendously tragic event. We feel so incredibly bad for the professor’s family, friends, and colleagues,” she said. “Our hearts really just go out to them. It’s definitely a tragedy.”

A video has surfaced from Tucson.com that shows Tucson Fire Department members carrying a man out of the building and loading him into an ambulance. Meixner was transported to Banner-University Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.

The unnamed faculty member who had been in the building when the murder occurred told Tucson.com that he heard between seven and 10 gunshots.

Following the tragic shooting, classes were canceled and staff and students were asked to leave the campus or stay in their dorms.

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