Horrific 'bow and arrow' murder-suicide in community college classroom as man kills teacher then himself minutes after murdering woman in the street
Man kills faculty member, 'student aged' female and then himself at small Wyoming community college
Attacker apparently used a 'bow and arrow type' weaponPolice say all three dead knew each other but have not suggested a motive
12:26 GMT, 1 December 2012
A Wyoming community college has been hit by a tragic murder-suicide after a man killed a teacher then himself in front of students in the classroom using some sort of 'bow-and-arrow-type' weapon.
The killer had previously murdered a woman in the street about two miles away before storming into a science building on the campus of Casper College.
The classroom killing prompted a college-wide lockdown as police attempted to ensure that it did not spiral into yet another campus massacre.
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On Duty: Police officers responded in full tactical gear to the campus attack at Casper College.
No Suspects: Police say they no longer have any suspects, suggesting that the attacker may have been one of the three dead.
Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said
the murder-suicide took place in a classroom with students present, but
he didn't know how many students or what the class topic was.
He said investigators were still trying to determine a motive.
Walsh said an 'edged weapon' was used
it at least one of the killings, but he did not offer specifics and it
was unclear if the same or a similar weapon was used in all of the
The attacker was not believed to be a
Casper College student and it appeared he knew the victims, Walsh said.
No names were released.
Lockdown: Casper College was put on lockdown after apparent bow and arrow attack that left three people dead.
'We're locating next of kin and working on notification absolutely as fast as we can,' Walsh said.
He added authorities did not believe there was any further threat to the community.
'I want to emphasize that this is a
horrible tragedy,' Walsh said. 'And I want the city to… just feel safe
right now. There is no one at large.'
The attack at the two-year community
college in Casper occurred just before 9am in a classroom on the science
building's third floor. All students and staff were evacuated from the
The college sent out a campus-wide
alert via text message and email within two minutes of receiving word of
the attack at 9.06am, school spokesman Rich Fujita said. The lockdown
ended at about 11am after school officials received word that police
were no longer searching for a suspect.
There are fewer classes on Fridays
than any other day of the week at Casper College, so only between 1,500
and 2,000 of the college's 5,000 students were there, Fujita added.
RAW SCENE VIDEO: Aftermath of the college attacks:
Tragedy: Students and staff listen to a new conference discussing the apparent murder-suicide on their campus.
Political science instructor Chris
Henrichsen said he was showing the film Frost/Nixon to his government
class when he stepped into the hall to get something for a student and
was told a homicide had occurred on campus.
He went back to his classroom, where students were getting messages about the campus lockdown on their phones.
'We locked the door and waited for further instruction,' Henrichsen said.
The students were later sent home,
but some who parked near a different campus building where the attack
occurred had to leave their cars there, Henrichsen said.
About two miles away, Dave Larsen
said he was headed to the gym when he drove past a body in a gutter with
two people standing over it, one talking on a cellphone.
Larsen lives about a block from the location of the body, a well-kept neighborhood of mostly single-story houses.
Emergency vehicles had the street blocked off on Friday afternoon.
Scene: The horrific murder-suicide took place in the science building of the community college
Walsh said 33 law enforcement
officers from different agencies responded to the college after
receiving reports of the attack. He said authorities first thought it
might have been an 'active-shooter-type situation.'
'We quickly contained the building and started a sweep through the building,' he said.
Walsh said that within minutes of the
initial call, there was another report of a traumatic injury about two
miles southwest of campus. That victim was found in the street, the
Classes were canceled for the rest of the day at the school, one of seven community colleges in Wyoming.
A meeting was held in the afternoon
for the 150 teachers and students who remained. College president Walt
Nolte addressed them, calling it the worst day of his more than 40 years
in higher education and encouraging the community to come together.
'It is particularly painful because of our size,' Fujita said of the small, tight-knit campus.
Counselors were speaking to students and planned to be available through the weekend. About 450 students live on campus.
Classes are due to resume on Monday.
'We agreed it doesn't do any good to
just set the students loose. It makes the most sense to have them come
back to campus, where they can get help if they need help and come to
terms with what happened,' Fujita said.
Investigation: Police were concerned there could be a gunman at large on the campus or in the town
Walsh said police train for such incidents but had no warning of Friday's violence.
Wyoming governor Matt Mead, who went
to the campus on Friday evening, said it was too early to assess
security precautions at the college.
'There's no sense in doing that now until we understand fully what has taken place,' he said.
The governor added that the focus now
'should be on the victims' family, the community college family, the
president, the trustees and the students, and making sure we're
attending to any of their needs.'
Casper College opened in 1945 as the
state's first junior college and moved to its current site 10 years
later. The campus consists of 28 buildings on more than 200 acres. The
college provides more than 140 academic-transfer, technical and career
Casper is Wyoming's second-largest
city with a population of about 56,000. Wyoming residents refer to it as
the 'Oil City' because it's a hub for the state's oil industry.
Watch the press conference here