PHOENIX — A former University of Arizona student was arrested Wednesday after a shooting at the Tucson, Arizona, campus left one professor dead, according to campus police.
The incident began around 2 p.m. when campus police received a call from someone inside the Harshbarger Building, which houses the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, requesting police escort a former student out of the building.
Officers were on their way when they received reports of a shooting that left one person wounded and that the gunman had fled, campus police Chief Paula Balafas said.
School officials identified Thomas Meixner, who had headed the school’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, as the victim in Wednesday's shooting.
Police said Meixner was shot inside the Harshbarger Building. He was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
"This incident is a deep shock to our community," University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement. "I have no words that can undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss. I am pained, especially for Tom’s family members, colleagues, and students."
Arizona state troopers stopped Murad Dervish, 46, in a vehicle about 120 miles northwest of the Tucson campus, just a few hours after the shooting, Balafas said.
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Balafas said she did not know what the history was between Dervish, who used a handgun, and Meixner but confirmed that Dervish is a former student of the professor.
Dervish did have previous interactions with the University of Arizona police, according to Sgt. Sean Shields. But Shields declined to say how many and when they happened.
Balafas said someone recognized Dervish “and knew that he was not allowed inside the building,” although Balafas didn’t elaborate why.
“We feel so incredibly bad for the professor’s family, friends and colleagues. Our hearts really just go out to them,” Balafas said during a news conference. “It’s just one of those things that sometimes you can’t even predict."
Dervish was being held at the Pima County Jail awaiting his initial court appearance. It wasn’t immediately clear what charges he might face or whether he has a lawyer yet who could speak on his behalf.
Students received campus alerts regarding a shooting that occurred at the John W. Harshbarger building at the university's main campus in Tucson and all in-person classes were canceled for the remainder of the school day.
University police blocked off the area surrounding the Harshbarger building and instructed people to stay away from the area, which was under lockdown. The building where the shooting occurred is just northwest of the university bookstore and student union.
Classes will resume Thursday, according to Balafas, but the building where the shooting happened may remain closed.
It was also 20 years ago this month that a disgruntled University of Arizona nursing student shot and killed three nursing professors before taking his own life.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: University of Arizona professor fatally shot by former student: Police