Las Vegas campus shooter sent ‘white powder’ letters to 22 universities, police say
The third victim who was killed in Wednesday’s shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has been named as Dr Naoko Takemaru.
Dr Takemaru was named after her next of kin were informed by the coroner’s office, UNLV president Keith Whitfield said in a statement.
“With sadness, I write to you to mourn the tragic passing of Dr Naoko Takemaru, who this morning was confirmed to be among the three UNLV faculty members who lost their lives during Wednesday’s shooting,” Mr Whitfield said.
The first two victims of the shooting were identified as professor Cha Jan Chang, 64, known as “Jerry,” and assistant professor Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, of Las Vegas, on Thursday.
It comes after Las Vegas police released new video purportedly showing suspect Anthony Polito moments after his shooting rampage at the University of Nevada‘s Las Vegas campus.
The footage emerged after investigators revealed that 67-year-old Polito had a “target list” – but none of his alleged victims were on it.
Police previously confirmed that Polito was a career college professor who had applied for – but failed to be accepted for – a job at UNLV.
Two officers injured in shooting identified
The two officers involved in the shooting were named at the press conference as Detective Nathanial Drum and Officer Damian Garcia.
Adam Garcia, police chief for the University Police Services Southern Command described the men as “heroes”.
“They kept the worst from becoming a bloodbath,” Mr Garcia said.
“The collective response and actions of our other initial responding officers LVPD metro or many regional agencies no doubt saved lives as well. Their swift response and exceptional courage were pivotal in neutralising this threat and undoubtedly prevented further harm to our community.
“I want to express with a deepest gratitude to both officer Garcia and Detective Drumm who, combined, bring over 40 years of law enforcement experience to our department.
“Their dedication to this community is unwavering.”
Detective Drum has been employed with UPS since 2017 and is assigned to the detective bureau at our central area command. Officer Garcia has been employed with UPS since 2018.
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the review of the incident.
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:44
Dr ‘Jerry’ Chang was ‘a mentor of the highest calibre’
Dr Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang was rememebered as “a rigorous researcher and a good teacher who deeply love his student and UNLV”.
“He was a mentor of the highest caliber, offering guidance and support – not just with words but with actions, sharing his experience and wisdom generously, patiently helping [students] navigate the complexity of academia,” a colleague said of Dr Chang.
“He believed in their potential and celebrated their achievement, fostering a sense of belonging and fellowship in the department.”
Dr Chang had also previously discussed the possibility of donating his body to UNLV for research purposes. While UNLV does not accept such donations, his body will be reportedly utilised by another institution.
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:40
Dr Patricia Navarro ‘made everyone feel like family’
Dr Patricia Navarro was remembered for her “larger-than-life personality and infectious smile.”
Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr Navarro had “a genuine kindness that made everyone around her feel like family,” Dr Jason Smith said.
“She loved gatherings – ‘the more the merrier’ she would say. She loved baking and sharing especially dessert items. Her creme brulee and macarons were were not to be missed.
“She lit up a room with her smile and although her professional accomplishments are impressive, Pat’s most important work was at home.
“Pat and her husband are proud parents of four children and she was blessed to be surrounded with love by her parents, three sisters, a brother, many nieces and nephews and countless friends and colleagues who adored her.”
Dr Smith added: “[She is] summed up in a picture frame she has in her kitchen she brought for Thanksgiving. It has one word – it says “framily” – which is defined as friends who become family.
“Her lasting legacy is one of her a wide circle of friends who, through her influence and love, and through this experience today, find ourselves as family.”
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:33
UNLV president met with Joe Biden
Keith Whitfield expressed his thanks to president Joe Biden, who had met with him personally following Wednesday’s tragedy.
“He offered love and support for UNLV and we appreciate the support by President Biden, as well as the support from the entire Nevada congressional delegation,” he told a press conference on Friday afternoon.
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:30
Tributes paid to shooting victims by colleagues
Dr Margaret Harp, a colleague of Dr Naoko Takemaru, described as “lion-hearted” and a “triple threat artist”.
“I hope we will also remember her for her multiple talents,” Dr Harp said.
“She was a professional concert pianist who left that career due to physical disabilities. She embroidered beautifully, creating her own designs and every holiday season she brought us her homemade chocolates.
“In a department full of cat lovers, Naoko was a cat lover supreme. Her office is covered, floor to ceiling, wall to wall with cat pictures, drawings, puzzles and calendars.”
Dr Harp added: “Naoko was frail physically. However, she was lion-hearted… and I have no doubt she was lionhearted in her final moments on Earth.
“Godspeed Naoko you are better people for having known you. We are bereft at losing you.”
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:27
UNLV president ‘our emotions are swinging like a pendulum’
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, ULVN president Keith Whitfield said that the college could “feel the love” of the community following the tragic events.
“I can say that our emotions, our emotions are swinging like a pendulum. It appears sometimes at one moment that people are fine and then the next moment, it feels like they’re being knocked down by a tidal wave of grief and pain,” he said.
“It’s going to be a while before we get to whatever we can consider normal. But you know something that’s okay.”
Speaking of all those who had reached out to offer support he added: “I cannot tell you, in my role as president of this university, how much that means.
“I meet and talk to students who have been touched by the incredible generosity and it is making a difference in terms of trying to be able to get better.”
Mike Bedigan9 December 2023 00:15
Three victims killed in UNLV mass shooting identified
All three victims that were killed in Wednesday’s attack have now been identified.
The third, Dr Naoko Takemaru, was named on Friday after her next of kin were contacted by the coroner.
Mike Bedigan8 December 2023 23:45
WATCH: UNLV shooting suspect captured on video after deadly rampage
UNLV shooting suspect captured on video after deadly rampage
Mike Bedigan8 December 2023 23:05
UNLV president thanks police for ‘swift and heroic action’
On Friday, UNLV president Keith Whitfield again expressed his thanks to the University Police Services for their “remarkably swift and heroic action in the face of harrowing circumstances”.
“While we continue to grieve for the heartbreaking loss of three of our faculty members, I will be forever indebted to all of the officers – and to first responders throughout our community,” he said.
“You have our back in ways we always knew, but at the same time never could have imagined. You continue to give our campus a sense of safety when we need it most.”
Mr Whitfield added: “Thank you to our large community of supporters – from local and state agencies to hospitality and business partners, elected officials, alumni, friends, and our sister institutions throughout the Nevada System of Higher Education and beyond.
“Your kindness, your generosity, and your deep commitment to UNLV and our people reinforce my belief that Las Vegas and Nevada are uniquely special places.”
Mike Bedigan8 December 2023 22:15
First victims in UNLV mass shooting identified
Here’s what we know about the victims so far:
Mike Bedigan8 December 2023 21:30