Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of professor at University of Arizona
PHOENIX – A professor at the University of Arizona was fatally shot on the Tucson campus Wednesday, and police said a former student was taken into custody.
The university identified the victim as Thomas Meixner, head of the hydrology department. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The suspect, Murad Dervish, 46, was stopped by state troopers near Gila Bend, about 120 miles northwest of campus, a few hours after the shooting, UArizona Police Chief Paula Balafas said at a press conference.
“We have lost a beloved member of our University of Arizona community, Dr. Thomas Meixner,” university President Robert Robbins wrote on the school’s website.
“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.”
Police said a man fled the scene after a shooting inside the Harshbarger Building, which houses the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences and is northwest of the student union.
One instructor recognized Dervish, a former student who was not allowed in the building and called campus police, authorities said.
After police were contacted, Dervish fired multiple bullets before one struck Meixner.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that a university faculty member who was in the building at the time said the shooting took place in a hallway and he heard up to 10 gunshots.
Classes campus-wide were canceled at the University but will remain as scheduled Thursday, outside of any in the Harshbarger Building.
Robbins reminded students, faculty and staff that counseling services were available at the campus.
The investigation remains ongoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.