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911 caller in UNLV business school reported seeing shooter with handgun

Updated December 8, 2023 - 6:23 pm

Records of 911 calls released Friday contain dozens of frantic calls after a gunman opened fire in UNLV’s business school building earlier this week, killing three professors, injuring another faculty member and creating chaos on campus.

“Hello I am at UNLV… there is an active shooter on the fourth floor of the Beam Hall business building,” the first 911 caller said at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to records released by the Metropolitan Police Department.

None of the callers who reached Metro’s dispatch reported seeing the shooting, but several people said they saw a man they did not recognize on the fourth and second floors of Beam Hall. Several people called 911 while hiding under desks, panic shaking in their voices as they reported hearing shooting and screaming.

Only one caller, a woman on the second floor who called dispatchers just before 11:49 a.m., said she saw the shooter’s gun. She told dispatchers she heard gunshots and briefly saw the man with a handgun before locking the door to a classroom where she and others were hiding.

The first 911 calls came in less than five minutes earlier, at 11:45 a.m., from the building’s fourth floor. Callers said they heard five or six shots shortly before 11:45 a.m. A caller on the fourth floor told dispatchers she may have seen the shooter.

“I didn’t recognize him, I usually know everyone on this floor, but I don’t know him,” she said while hiding under a desk in an office.

Dozens of other calls poured in from students and faculty, as well as friends and family members who called 911 on behalf of people inside Beam Hall.

Three professors — 39-year-old Patricia Navarro Velez, 64-year-old Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, and 69-year-old Naoko Takemaru — were killed in the shooting. A fourth faculty member was shot and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said Thursday.

Police have identified the shooter as 67-year-old Anthony Polito, a former business professor who had been turned down from multiple jobs at Nevada universities. Polito was armed with nearly 150 rounds of ammunition and a Taurus 9mm handgun on Wednesday, and was shot and killed by UNLV police outside of the business school.

McMahill has said that a lack of cameras inside the business school led to confusion about the shooter and officers’ exact movements on Wednesday. Polito is believed to have walked into the building at about 11:33 a.m. and shot and injured a professor on the fifth floor before making his way to the floors below.

Officers arrived at the scene just over a minute after the first 911 call, police have said, and entered the building before shooting Polito outside.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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