A University of Arizona professor was shot dead on Wednesday after a former student who was not allowed on the premises allegedly entered the science building and opened fire.
Thomas Meixner, 52, was head of UA’s Division of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences and was known for his work on water quality and climate change.
Meixner was taken to the hospital after being shot around 2pm. He was confirmed dead in the emergency room.
UA Police Chief Paula Barrafus provided an update after he was arrested shortly after 5 p.m.
Barrafus said the victim was a professor in the Department of Hydrology, but said he would not release his name.
The professor’s identity was first confirmed by Tucson Sentinel Tributes have since poured in for the educator, with some calling his death “a devastating loss for the water world” and others “a sad day for science”.
Thomas Meixner, 52, head of the UA’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, was gunned down on campus Wednesday, according to an alleged former student.
The suspect was identified as 46-year-old Murad Dervish, who was arrested shortly after 5 p.m.
Police said the on-campus shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. inside the John W. Hershberger Building.
“Somebody recognized the student and knew they weren’t allowed inside the building,” said Barrafus. It was never revealed why Darvish was not allowed inside the building.
The campus was put on lockdown for over an hour while police searched for the suspect who was off campus.
“I don’t know what the suspect’s problem was in this case, but if you see something, don’t just say something, do something.” If you know anyone who is, please get in touch,” Barrafus said.
Barafas said campus police first received a call from inside the building and recognized the former student as someone not allowed to be there.
The caller requested escort of the suspect. Within minutes, another caller reported shootings inside the building.
Videos posted on social media show scenes outside the building as paramedics carry him onto a stretcher and load him into a waiting ambulance.
Police said the on-campus shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. inside the John W. Hershberger Building near East Second Street and North Mountain Avenue.
Students and staff were asked to evacuate the area for over an hour as the campus remained on lockdown and police searched for the shooter.
The suspect was identified and searched by police, but had fled the campus. The suspect was taken into custody shortly after 5:00 p.m. when the Arizona Department of Public Safety stopped traffic just outside his bend in Gila.
Videos and photos posted on social media show paramedics outside the building carrying the man onto a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance.
The victim, later identified as Meixner, was taken to Banner-University Medical Center and pronounced dead.
“This is an extremely tragic event. We are deeply sorry for the professor’s family, friends and colleagues,” said Barrafus. “Our hearts really go out to them. It’s definitely a tragedy.
Meixner was flooded with tributes for his research focused on understanding the hydrology and water quality of desert rivers.
Meixner has been teaching at UA since 2005 and became department head in 2019. He leaves his wife and his two sons.
His identity was first confirmed by the Tucson Sentinel, who have since paid tribute to educators who have called his death “a devastating loss to the water community.”
Professor Kaveh Madani of New York said, “Sad day for our field! #Sad day for science!”
Another user said: Tom was highly respected for his work on water harvesting. Tonight we mourn this senseless tragedy.”
Dr. Laura Meredith tweeted how she and Meixner submitted the grant last week.
“I am completely shocked. I just submitted my grant last week. I can’t think of a more helpful and supportive colleague/mentor/human. This is devastating and pointless. I feel sorry for the many people who are suffering right now.
The Twitter user continued, “Tom was greatly respected for his work on water harvesting.Tonight we mourn this senseless tragedy.”
One Twitter user called the tragedy: #A sad day for science!
The two hug after the shooting Wednesday at the John W. Hershberger Building on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona.
The campus remained under lockdown and students and staff were asked to evacuate for over an hour as police searched for the shooter.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11285685/Former-student-arrested-allegedly-shooting-University-Arizona-professor.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Former student allegedly shot University of Arizona professor