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University of Arizona professor shot and killed on campus, suspect in custody

A professor at the University of Arizona was shot and killed on campus Wednesday by a former student, authorities said. The suspect has been taken into custody.

The shooting occurred inside the Harshbarger Building on the university's main campus in Tucson, University of Arizona Police Chief Paula Balafas said. At around 2 p.m. local time, somebody inside the building contacted police and asked them to remove a former student who was not allowed to be there, Balafas said. While police were on their way, they received a second call saying there had been a shooting. A subsequent call to police said that the shooter had fled the building.

Firefighters treated the victim and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Balafas said. The professor was not identified, but Balafas said he was a professor of hydrology. Balafas could not elaborate on any prior relationship between the shooter and the victim.

The suspect, identified as Murad Dervish, 46, was taken into custody following a traffic stop just outside of Gila Bend, Arizona — roughly four hours after the shooting — by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Balafas said. Gila Blend is located about 120 miles northwest of Tucson. 

The building where the shooting occurred is just northwest of the university bookstore and student union. Campus alerts instructed people to stay away from the area, which was under lockdown.

Classes, activities and other campus events were canceled for the rest of the day. Classes will resume Thursday, Balafas said. But the building where the shooting happened may remain closed.

Tucson is where former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot and wounded while meeting with constituents outside a supermarket in 2011. Six people died, and 13 others, including Giffords, were injured.

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.

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