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Three professors killed at University of Arizona

Gunman killed himself after shooting

Nursing students Angela Garcia, left, and Jessica Harrison attend a candlelight service at the University of Arizona for the shooting victims.
Nursing students Angela Garcia, left, and Jessica Harrison attend a candlelight service at the University of Arizona for the shooting victims.

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Terry Gonzalez of KGUN reports on the shooting deaths at the University of Arizona College of Nursing (October 28)
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TUCSON, Arizona (CNN) -- Students taking a midterm exam at the University of Arizona College of Nursing watched in horror Monday as a fellow student, apparently angry over being barred from the test, shot and killed two professors, police said. Authorities later found another professor dead in her office on another floor of the building.

The student was identified by the university as Robert S. Flores, 41, who turned the gun on himself after killing the two professors in the classroom, police said. Flores had asked students to leave the room before he killed himself.

Sgt. Marco Borboa of the Tucson Police Department said Flores was recently enrolled at the school, but it was not immediately clear if he was a current student.

The university identified the victims as three clinical associate professors at the nursing school: Robin Rogers, 50; Barbara Monroe, 45; and Cheryl McGaffic, 44.

The shootings began in the morning when Flores, carrying two guns, entered the College of Nursing and fatally shot Rogers in her second-floor office, Borboa said.

Flores then entered a fourth-floor lecture hall where, at 8:40 a.m. (10:40 a.m. EST), about 20 students had already been taking an examination for 20 or 30 minutes, said Assistant Police Chief Robert Lehner.

Flores spoke briefly to Monroe before shooting her, then went to the back of the classroom and shot McGaffic before telling students to leave, the university said.

"That's when we believe he shot himself," Borboa said.

Lehner said Monroe was shot several times.

From top: Robin Rogers, Cheryl McGaffic, and Barbara Monroe.
From top: Robin Rogers, Cheryl McGaffic, and Barbara Monroe.

Police teams were still sweeping the school building Monday evening, searching for explosives, Borboa said. They also searched Flores' home but found nothing suspicious.

Police said a bomb-sniffing dog had a reaction to the suspect's car, which was parked near the school building, and when police found a backpack under the body of the gunman, they suspected it might contain an explosive device.

The university said a memorial for the victims was pending.

"It's an intensely personal tragedy and trauma," said Peter Likins, president of the university.

It is too early to identify a motive, Borboa said, but Flores was dealing with "several different types of issues" concerning school and home life. Borboa would not give details.

A witness said the gunman was angry over being barred from midterm exams.

Another witness taking the test on the fourth floor of the building said she heard about 15 gunshots. It was "really scary," she said. "It was silent while he was shooting our teachers."

"I was afraid that I was going to get shot," she said.

University spokeswoman Lisa Wakefield said the college and surrounding buildings were evacuated after the shootings. Other buildings closed besides the Nursing College were the College of Pharmacy, Life Sciences North and Basic Sciences, police said.

The University Medical Center was locked down, and emergency cases were being diverted to other hospitals, a spokeswoman said. Visitors were barred, but she said employees were able to go in and out.

Police said people who fled the college after the shootings gathered at a nearby alumni center, where counseling was available.

The school building where the shootings happened will be closed Tuesday, Borboa said.

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