UNLV shooter identified as professor with ties to Georgia, sources say

Investigators are searching for the motive behind the mass shooting on Wednesday afternoon at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that ended with four people dead and one critically wounded.

At about 11:45 a.m., the gunman opened fire on the fourth floor of the building that houses UNLV’s Lee Business School, then went to several other floors before he was killed in a shootout with two university police detectives outside the building, UNLV Police Chief Adam Garcia said.

Three people were killed and a fourth was hospitalized in critical but stable condition, police said.

The attack was the worst shooting in the city since October 2017, when a gunman killed 60 people and wounded more than 400 after opening fire from the window of a room at Mandalay Bay casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip only a couple miles from the UNLV campus.

While police have not released the name of the gunman, law enforcement sources have told The Associated Press he was a professor who had unsuccessfully sought a job at the school. ABC News identified the gunman as 67-year-old Anthony Polito, a former professor at East Carolina University in North Carolina.

Sources also told ABC News that Polito had "ties" to Georgia. A LinkedIn page believed to be connected to the suspect included information in his education section that he had received a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. 


Emergency responder vehicles line Maryland Parkway on the east side of the UNLV campus after a shooting on December 06, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The ABC report says that detectives are searching a Henderson, Nevada, apartment where it is believed Polito lived. Detectives have also reportedly found his phone and are examining its contents in hopes it will explain what led up to the deadly act of violence.

Investigators have not shared the identity of the victims and have not said what kind of weapon was used, although some witnesses reported hearing as many as 20 shots fired.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the school’s 30,000 students were on campus at the time, but Sheriff Kevin McMahill said students had been gathered outside the building to eat and play games. If police hadn’t killed the attacker, "it could have been countless additional lives taken," he said.


Las Vegas police respond to UNLV, where multiple victims were shot on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

"No student should have to fear pursuing their dreams on a college campus," the sheriff said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.