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 Shooting at the University of Arizona Nursing School Leaves 4 Dead


Tucson, Arizona

Monday, October 28, 2002


Let's Stop the violence! 

See how KEYS can help!!

October 28, 2002, TUCSON, Ariz. A student opened fire in a class at the University of Arizona nursing school today, sending terrified students rushing toward the doors in panic.   "School Shooting Map"

A student opened fire in a class at the University of Arizona nursing school today, sending terrified students rushing toward the doors in panic.Police did not disclose how the three victims died or their relationship to the gunman, if any. They said the victims were found in two different locations inside the school in central Tucson. Police did not identify the victims, though a university spokeswoman said they included two female professors. The suspect apparently committed suicide, Police Chief Richard Mirada said.

Three of the victims were apparently shot by a gunman who then may have committed suicide, according to Tucson Police. Tucson Police and University Police say the shooting happened at 8:40 a.m. (MST).

The suspect had earlier threatened to blow up the building in Tucson, though it was unclear when the threat was made, Mirada said [ Identifying the Potentially Dangerous Student ]. Bomb squad members were called in after a backpack or package was found underneath the suspect's body. A bomb-sniffing dog reacted to the suspect's car in a nearby parking lot. Police officers were going room to room at the school north of the university's main campus. [Crisis Response Action Plan do you have one?]

S.W.A.T. Police were evacuating the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, Life Sciences North and Basic Sciences buildings in the Arizona Health Sciences Center complex northwest of Campbell Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. They also were sweeping the building, looking for any explosive devices, according to a Tucson Police spokesman.

University Medical Center - the hospital - remains open for business, although Campbell Avenue has been sealed off north of Speedway to Elm Street and people are asked to avoid the area.

A student, who was in the building during the shootings, said two different students banged on her classroom door and told everyone to get out. "We ran out of the building and there were police telling us to run away," she said.

A 29-year-old graduate student said she and her husband were outside the building waiting for a shuttle bus when a woman came out of the building with a cell phone, trying to dial and screaming that there was a man with a gun in the building. Police were at the scene within seconds. A group of people were crying and running desperately to get out of the building," she said. "They were crying, tripping over one another, falling down." Her husband reported seeing 50 to 60 people scramble to get out of the building, before police swarmed in and shooed them away.

Police escorted groups of students, faculty and administrators in shuttle buses to the Alumni Building, where counselors were being made available. Dana Weir, a spokeswoman for the alumni foundation, said students and faculty looked shaken, and people in her office were just trying to make them comfortable.

University President Peter Likens called the shooting an isolated incident. He said there were no immediate plans to change security procedures [School Site Safety Survey] at the 34,000-student university, which includes the 380-student nursing school.

"I don't now believe there's any reason to imply a deficiency of security either in that building or on this campus," he said.

This shooting comes just a week after a similar event half a world away in Melbourne, Australia. There, at Monash University, two people were killed and five others were wounded during a shooting, which occurred in the Humanities Department at 11:10 in the morning.

Police say a man walked into the Menzies building armed with a number of handguns and went into a classroom on the sixth floor. He reportedly shot dead two men and injured five others in the room.

That gunman was an economics student.

These recent events lead all of us to ask, "Have we done all we can to make our campuses safe?"

Keys To Safer has a training program specifically for Resident Assistants, the student supervisors in dormitories. Additionally, the training on Potentially Dangerous Students has attracted the attention of several universities. The demand for this training, which provides schools the tools and ability to identify and intervene with troubled students, has increased to the point where Keys To Safer is now presenting training for others to become trainers. These newly certified trainers will then return to their schools and organizations to train other members of their staffs in the use of the Keys Assessment Instrument. If you are connected with a College or University and feel that your school could use such a program, please contact Keys To Safer immediately.


(TUCSON, Arizona) -- The University of Arizona has identified the shooter in Monday's campus killings as a student who was apparently flunking out of nursing school. A top university official says Robert Flores had failed a pediatric class and was struggling in a critical care class.

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