A professor at the Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, was fatally shot on Monday – an incident that enforced campus-wide lockdown as police search for the suspect who is also a professor at the school.
The victim was identified as Ethan Schmidt, a history professor at the school. Schmidt was killed inside his office in Jobe Hall. The gunman, suspected to be Shannon Lamb, was on the run as of 1 p.m. and considered armed and dangerous, according to the Cleveland Police Department. However, Lamb was not believed to be on campus anymore.
Lamb is also being considered as a suspect in another homicide in another city.
“We do not have the suspect in custody at this moment, but we are actively pursuing him,” Cleveland Police Chief Charles Bingham said, as reported by CNN. “Right now we have no motive, and we’re not going to speculate on a motive until we have facts in hand.”
A footage captured by a student shows officers leading people out of buildings with their arms over their heads.
Noah Joyner, a freshman at the school, said it was terrifying when the school was placed under lockdown. He said, “There were like people banging on the doors to have somebody let them in. It was pretty terrifying to hear people banging on the door.”
According to the Huffington Post, police suspect the Delta State shooting may have a connection with another shooting. The victim in the case was a woman Lamb was allegedly romantically involved with, Gautier Police Detective Matt Hoggatt said. Police further said they believe Lamb and the woman were living together. The death of the woman was reported by Lamb at 10:20 a.m. Monday; this was 20 minutes before Delta State issued an active shooting alert.
Although Lamb is believed to have left the campus, the premises were searched thoroughly and the school was placed under lockdown Monday afternoon. “We’re not taking anything lightly,” Bingham said. Taking precaution, the other schools within the Cleveland School District were also placed under lockdown. Classes will begin Wednesday. The 90th birthday celebration for the school, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed. In a statement, the school said that the counsellors would be on campus Tuesday.
According to NBC News, Delta State English professor Don Mitchell said Schmidt was “a wonderful family man. He was a great scholar, a great friend and a gentleman in every sense of the word. We are heartbroken, especially for his family and three children.”
“We lost one of our beloved professors today,” Michelle Roberts, vice president of university relations, said. “We are grieving on this campus.”
Schmidt’s aunt, Barbara Schmidt Unruh, said, “He’s just the all-around good guy. He was the best family man I have ever known. He would do anything for his family.”
Schmidt taught undergraduate courses in American history. In 2007, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas. Ha has also authored several books and scholarly papers. Prior to working at Delta State, he worked for six years at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Here, he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.
You might also be interested in: Europe Migrant Crisis: Germany Places Border Controls, Stems Migrant Influx