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Vegas-Obsessed Prof Accused of UNLV Rampage Compiled 109 Pages of Self Praise

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Anthony “Tony” Polito, the former professor identified as the gunman who killed three on Wednesday before he was shot dead by police on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, had compiled thousands of “positive reviews” from former students into a 109-page document.

That document, which remained attached to the Polito’s LinkedIn profile until the page was taken down Tuesday morning, was titled “Evidence of Instructional Effectiveness.”

The glowing reviews were purportedly from the instructor’s former students at East Carolina University, where he was an associate business professor for more than 16 years. In the aftermath of Wednesday’s slayings, however, former students revealed that the 67-year-old occasionally spent more time raving about his trips to Las Vegas than he did teaching.

Commenting under a local news station’s article that ID’d the professor as the killer, multiple former students said their ex-professor frequented the Wynn Las Vegas hotel specifically.

“He was my professor and spent most of the time talking about his time in Vegas and staying at the Wynn,” wrote Mary Frances Stalls. Another student, Hanna Alexis Conrad, added, “As many have said, he had an odd fixation with Las Vegas and the Wynn hotel.”

In an online bio, the suspected gunman described himself as a “semi-retired university professor.” He described his “greatest gifts and takeaways” from his career in higher education as being “the many kind & positive comments students made regarding my instruction and disposition toward them.”

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While police have yet to disclose a motive in the shooting that killed three people, Las Vegas Metro PD Sheriff Kevin McMahill said Thursday that Polito had applied “numerous times” for a position at the school but been rejected. In addition, McMahill confirmed the victims killed included members of faculty or staff, not students. Authorities reportedly believe that he was not targeting students.

Professor Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, was identified by the Clark County Coroner’s Office as one of the victims, 8 News Now reported, adding that Chang died from a gunshot wound to his head. An online biography said he was a business professor.

Assistant Professor Patricia Navarro Velez, left, and Professor Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, right, in official headshots for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Patricia Navarro, a 39-year-old assistant professor at the university, was also confirmed by the coroner to be a victim, dying from multiple gunshot wounds. The California All-Stars Las Vegas Cheer Gym shared a tribute to her on Tuesday afternoon.

“Our hearts are shattered as we share the devastating news of the loss of a beloved member of our Cali family in yesterday’s senseless shooting,” the organization said in a statement.

Some former students of Polito speculated that he was desperate to work closer to Las Vegas, writing that he was fixated on the city and spoke about it endlessly. Phone records reviewed by The Daily Beast showed that the suspect lived in a Las Vegas suburb at the time of the attack.

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“I took his class when I was at East Carolina,” wrote Paul Whittington. “His class was among my least favorites. He was a poor instructor and had an odd fixation with Las Vegas. Spent more than half the class talking about all his trips.”

Whittington told the Associated Press that Polito appeared to be “obsessed” with student reviews about his performance at the end of each semester and didn’t take poor reviews lightly.

He added that the professor once quipped to his class that he’d remember the faces of students who gave him bad reviews and emphasized that he was sure who they were and where they sat, pointing at seats in the classroom.

“He always talked about the negative feedback he got,” Whittington said, according to the AP. “He didn’t get a lot of it, but there would always be one student every semester, or at least one student every class, that would give a negative review. And he fixated on those.”

Authorities said that shots first rang out from Beam Hall, where the university’s business school is housed, just before noon. The gunfire sent the campus into a panic, with a campus-wide lockdown initiated that McMahill said induced panic attacks from students.

The sheriff said Thursday that Polito was armed with a 9mm handgun, which he purchased legally last year, and 11 magazines.

McMahill added that Polito went to a post office prior to his rampage and sent 22 letters to universities around the country that may contain a harmful substance. He said officers recovered what they believe to be a “last will and testament”-style document from his apartment.

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Authorities said three people died in the incident, not including the gunman. A fourth shooting victim, whose health had previously been reported as improving from a critical state, had their condition downgraded to “life threatening” again on Thursday, McMahill said.

McMahill said Wednesday that officers got into a firefight with the gunman and shot him dead, with some cops needing to be treated for minor injuries.

Authorities are yet to release a definitive motive for the massacre, and police’s last official update was given at 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

Source: The Daily Beast

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