TWO CONFIRMED DEAD IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE …
|| By FITSNEWS || Two people – a shooter and a victim – are dead after gunfire erupted at the University of South Carolina’s new school of public health building, located on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia, S.C. (just a block away from the S.C. State House complex).
The University issued a “SHORS (sic) FIRED” alert shortly before 1:30 p.m. EST on Thursday – right around the time S.C. governor Nikki Haley was holding a press event at the State House that had to be cut short due to concerns for her safety.
“Seek safe shelter,” the school’s alert stated. “Obey officials.”
FITS began receiving word of the incident right around the time the alarm was sounded – along with unconfirmed reports of a possible murder-suicide.
“My son just texted me there is a shooter on (the USC) campus,” one of our sources said. “Rumors of a murder/suicide.”
(UPDATE: REPORTS CONFIRMED).
Sources tell FITS the victim was associate professor Raja Fayad, head of the applied physiology division of the school’s Department of Exercise Science. The shooter is alleged to have been the professor’s graduate assistant, a female doctoral student.
Here is a screen capture from Fayad’s faculty page …
(Click to enlarge)
(Cap via University of South Carolina)
“She came in while he was teaching,” one source told FITS. “And when she came in, they started arguing, and when she pulled the gun, he yelled for the class to run. She shot him as he was trying to leave.”
When the gunshots rang out, professors inside the building followed school protocol by locking the doors to their classrooms. In fact the entire school was placed on lockdown in the immediate aftermath of the report as City of Columbia, S.C. police department officials and other law enforcement agencies (including the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, S.C. State Law Enforcement Division and the U.S. Marshal’s Office) responded.
Photos posted to social media (below) showed students using chairs to barricade doors as AR-15-wielding SWAT members surrounded the building.
At 2:15 p.m. EST – less than an hour after the initial alert – the all clear was sounded.
“Law Enforcement have determined that there is no longer an existing threat within the School of Public Health,” the school reported. “The building remains closed at this time. All surrounding streets are closed.”
The University of South Carolina police department is the lead agency investigating the incident, although SLED took the lead in addressing members of the media.
“There was no active shooter other than the two deceased,” agency spokesman Thom Berry told reporters, adding the incident “appeared to be a murder-suicide.”
This week’s shooting comes three months after another murder-suicide at an off-campus housing facility claimed the life of a 20-year-old Diamoney Greene, a USC criminology student.
UPDATE II …
SHOOTINGS HIGHLIGHT GENERATIONAL PROBLEM (LIZ GUNN)
SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE …
— Arulram Sriram (@ArulSriram) February 5, 2015
SLED PIO addressing media. ‘Appears to be a murder-suicide.. Isolated incident at USC school of health.’ pic.twitter.com/AOxv1YUVRl
— Cola Police Dept. SC (@ColumbiaPDSC) February 5, 2015
ALL CLEAR SOUNDED … #USCShooting
— Will Folks aka Sic (@fitsnews) February 5, 2015
— News 19 WLTX (@WLTX) February 5, 2015
SAFETY ALERT: SHOTS FIRED PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH BUILDING. pic.twitter.com/uemQDlPWNU
— DrinkingTicket ® (@DrinkingTicket) February 5, 2015
Thinking of everyone around USC and the Statehouse. Be safe out there. #forevertothee
— Bryan Haskins (@HaskinsBryan) February 5, 2015
Call/text your parents, #gamecock students.
— Tim Cooper (@tcooper185) February 5, 2015
Praying for safety of students, staff, law enforcement & media. Officers say shooter is inside USC campus building. Stay with @wltx
— Ashley Izbicki (@AshleyIzbicki) February 5, 2015