Police: Ex-grad Student Suspected in Arizona Professor Killing

3 months ago 27

TUCSON, Ariz.—A University of Arizona prof who authorities accidental was fatally changeable connected field by a erstwhile postgraduate pupil was an adept connected godforsaken h2o issues who module and erstwhile students described arsenic a benignant and superb colleague.

School officials identified Thomas Meixner, who had headed the school’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, arsenic the unfortunate successful Wednesday afternoon’s shooting.

“This incidental is simply a heavy daze to our community, and it is simply a tragedy,” University President Robert Robbins said successful a connection precocious Wednesday. “I person nary words that tin undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss, and I americium pained particularly for Tom’s household members, colleagues, and students.”

Police said Meixner was changeable wrong the Harshbarger Building, which houses the hydrology department. He was taken to a hospital, wherever helium was pronounced dead.

A fewer hours aft the shooting, authorities troopers stopped a erstwhile postgraduate student, 46-year-old Murad Dervish, successful a van astir 120 miles northwest of the Tucson campus, university Police Chief Paula Balafas said during a quality conference.

Dervish was being held astatine the Pima County jailhouse awaiting his archetypal tribunal appearance. It wasn’t instantly wide what charges helium mightiness beryllium look oregon whether helium has a lawyer yet who could talk connected his behalf.

According to field police, a pistillate called 911 astatine astir 2 p.m. Wednesday asking for constabulary to escort a erstwhile pupil retired of the Harshbarger Building. Balafas said idiosyncratic recognized Dervish “and knew that helium was not allowed wrong the building,” though Balafas didn’t explicate why.

Arizona Campus shooting University of Arizona Police escort students from the country of a shooting astatine the John W. Harshbarger Building connected the University of Arizona field successful Tucson, Ariz., connected Oct. 5, 2022. (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Officers were connected their mode to the gathering erstwhile they received reports that a antheral changeable and wounded idiosyncratic earlier fleeing, Balafas said.

The gathering is adjacent the assemblage bookstore and pupil union, and field alerts instructed radical to debar the area, which was nether lockdown.

Classes, activities, and different field events were canceled for the remainder of the day. Classes resumed connected Thursday, but Balafas said the gathering wherever the shooting happened mightiness stay closed.

When asked however good Dervish and Meixner knew 1 another, Balafas said she didn’t know.

Dervish did person erstwhile interactions with the University of Arizona police, according to Sgt. Sean Shields. But helium declined to accidental however galore and erstwhile they happened.

Meixner earned a doctorate successful hydrology and h2o resources from the assemblage successful 1999 and joined the module successful 2005 earlier becoming the section caput successful 2019. He was considered an adept connected godforsaken h2o issues.

Various module members and erstwhile students took to societal media to praise Meixner.

Karletta Chief, manager of the university’s Indigenous Resilience Center, said she met Meixner erstwhile she was a postgraduate pupil successful 2001 and helium was caller to the faculty. While she was not 1 of his students, her probe successful hydrology led to predominant collaborations. The past clip she saw Meixner, who was a large protagonist of Native American and indigenous communities researching h2o issues, was a week agone astatine a seminar his section co-sponsored.

Chief said she emailed Meixner and respective others successful the hydrology section aft the shooting, and that she was devastated to larn helium was the 1 who had been shot.

“It’s conscionable unimaginable that anybody would person immoderate nonstop choler toward him. He was wholly the other of that. He was conscionable truthful benignant and affirmative and ever wanting to help,” said Chief, who noted that Meixner ne'er mentioned to her if determination had been immoderate occupation with a existent oregon erstwhile student.

Meixner was besides generous extracurricular of campus, Chief said. He erstwhile gave wealth for a marathon that she ran to payment the Lymphoma Society.

“He shared that helium was thankful for maine doing this tally and helium was a crab survivor,” she said.

It was 20 years agone this period that a disgruntled University of Arizona nursing pupil changeable and killed 3 nursing professors earlier taking his ain life.

The Associated Press