Authorities gave an update on Wednesday’s shooting at UNLV that left three dead and one injured.
Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill confirms the gunman was Anthony Polito, 67, of Henderson.
McMahill says all of the victims were faculty members and were found inside Beam Hall. Cha-Jan “Jerry” Chang and Patricia Navarro Velez have been identified as two of the three victims killed.
McMahill says the third victim killed will not be identified until the Clark County Coroner’s Office can notify their next of kin.
Polito was armed with a 9mm handgun and 11 magazines. Police found nine loaded magazines on him after the shooting. The gun was bought legally last year, and McMahill says it’s still unknown how many rounds he fired.
Detectives learned that Polito went to a post office before the shooting and sent 22 letters to universities around the country. Police also recovered what they believe to be a “last will and testament”-style document from his apartment, McMahill said.
McMahill says Polito applied to several higher education institutions in Nevada and was rejected each time. Investigators believe he was struggling financially and acted alone.
McMahill says that in a screening of the envelopes that were intercepted, the first one opened yielded an “unknown white powder substance.” Anyone in the world of academia who receives a letter with no return address is asked to use caution and contact law enforcement.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department later confirmed that the substance inside the envelopes was found to be harmless, according to the post on X.
Dr. Keith Whitfield, president of UNLV, says he thanks the police officers who rushed to the scene. He credits them for stopping a larger tragedy from happening.
Adam Garcia, head of University Police Services, said the first officer on the scene was there within 78 seconds of the initial call. Two university police detectives shot and killed Polito, and Garcia said they were heroes.
An exclusive video given to News 3 reveals law enforcement cleaning up inside the Student Union at UNLV.
The effort comes after LVMPD reported a shootout between the suspect and university detectives outside of the Student Union where the shooter was shot dead, ending the threat.
Clark County Commission Chair Jim Gibson urges anyone who might be affected to contact the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. The county is also in talks with UNLV and the Resiliency Center to accept donations in response to the shooting.
Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck says the Resiliency Center will be available when needed. He notes that some people affected by One October reached out to the center years later.
Steinbeck said the flow of information will always be a challenge. He says there is a joint information center, but there’s still so much information that initial reports had the victim count much higher than later determined.
UPD will identify the officers who shot and killed Polito on Friday, in keeping with the protocol for officer-involved shootings.
Of the 22 letters LVMPD is aware of, McMahill says he believes all of the intended recipients have been contacted.
Speaking about a petition to be a closed campus, UNLV President Whitfield says they will take a look at it, but other presidents he’s spoken with do not believe closing a campus would be a deterrent and it’s not his inclination.
“We’re Las Vegas’s university”
Asked if Polito had additional plans for violence, McMahill says he believes Polito could have been headed to the Student Union. There’s still more information that needs to be investigated, he says.