Elizabeth Haigh is JURIST’s Chief of Staff for the US and a 2L at the University of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law. She files this dispatch from Las Vegas, Nevada. This dispatch was initially filed at 4:40 PM EST/1:40 PM PST. Updates to the initial dispatch are included below.
On Wednesday, December 6, an armed individual shot multiple people at Beam Hall and the Student Union on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus. The most recent reports indicate that the suspected shooter is dead. All of UNLV’s campus, including the law school that I attend, remain under a shelter-in-place order. Police continue to “respond and clear buildings systematically.”
At 11:50 AM PST, the UNLV police department sent out a text, reading, “University Police responding to reports of shots fire in BEH evacuate to a safe area. RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.” Seeing a text like that, I refused to believe that there were actual shots fired. The first thing that ran through my mind was that maybe it was a car backfiring or some other perfectly valid explanation for the sound.
Only seven minutes later, at 11:57 AM PST, the UNLV police department sent out another text. This one read, “University Police responding to confirmed active shooter in BEH. This is not a test. RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.” That is when reality started to set in. There was, in fact, an active shooter on our campus.
Students promptly locked down, following the confirmation of the shooting. In the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, students who were in the midst of their final exams locked down in a single room. All students began reaching out to one another to confirm their safety, making sure their friends were safe, too. I found out about the lockdown—ironically—as I was studying for criminal law and procedure.
As I am writing this, I am getting phone calls and texts from fellow students and friends who are running to escape the active shooter threat on campus. Luckily, all of my friends were all okay, even though the shooting took place right next to the law school.
I’ve seen countless numbers of school shootings on the news that have taken place across the country. As devastating and heartbreaking as they have been, I never imagined that a school I attended would be put in this situation. Frankly, there are no words to describe the sickening feeling of watching videos of the route you walk to school on every day being flooded with SWAT cars and police officers running to combat an active school shooter.
UPDATE #1 (filed at 5:09 PM EST/2:09 PM PST): As of 1:56 PM PST Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed three victims were shot. Police stress that the number could change.
UPDATE #2 (filed at 6:50 PM EST/3:50 PM PST): As of 3:41 PM PST Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed the three previously identified victims as deceased. One additional victim is in critical condition at a local hospital.
UPDATE #3 (filed at 7:28 PM EST/4:28 PM PST): As of 4:24 PM PST the UNLV campus remains on lockdown. Police are still clearing out buildings on campus.
UPDATE #4 (filed at 8:24 PM EST/5:24 PM PST): Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department held a press conference where Sheriff Kevin McMahill confirmed there is no ongoing threat at this point. Police expect to continue their investigation through the night.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Dispatches are solely those of our correspondents in the field and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.