Victims or deceased names: – Professors Naoko Takemaru – Patricia Navarro Velez – Cha-Jan “Jerry” Chang : UNLV Students Call for Action to End Gun Violence After Mass Shooting

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : UNLV Students and Activists Demand Action to End Gun Violence Following Tragic Shooting Incident

In a press conference held on Thursday, a group of UNLV students and activists voiced their concerns about the recent mass shooting that claimed the lives of three professors. Calling for a comprehensive approach to tackling gun violence, they emphasized the urgent need for change. The gathering took place outside a coffee shop near the UNLV campus on South Maryland Parkway.

During the conference, some students shared their harrowing experiences of being trapped in a meeting room within the student union while the shooting unfolded nearby. The victims of the tragic incident were identified as Professors Naoko Takemaru, Patricia Navarro Velez, and Cha-Jan “Jerry” Chang. The gunman, Anthony Polito, 67, was subsequently shot and killed by university police.

Zena Hajji, a political science student at UNLV, recounted her ordeal of being in Room 208 in the student union when the shooting began. The room was hosting a training session organized by Rise Nevada, an activist group advocating for the restoration of funding to public higher education. Hajji and over 80 other individuals were inside the room when they received text alerts about an active shooter on campus.

When the police finally evacuated them to safety, Hajji and her peers had to pass by a lifeless body, later identified as the shooter. The traumatic sight will forever haunt those who witnessed it. Hajji expressed her disbelief at the situation, as they had no way of knowing whether the body belonged to the gunman, a professor, a student, or an innocent bystander.

Reflecting on her high school drills, Hajji mentioned the safety measures they had practiced, such as barricading doors, turning off lights, and relocating students within the room. She expressed her profound sadness that such knowledge has become necessary.

Millan Gledhill, a political science and film student who also attended the Rise training session, declined to share his experience, stating that it was too early and too painful. However, he revealed that he will forever be haunted by the difficult decision he had to make in that moment and the sight of blood on the concrete.

Amanda Hanson, a 36-year-old hospitality student, expressed her relief that the shooter was gone. She joined Rise in condemning the pervasive culture of violence in America. Chris Solomon, Rise Nevada’s state director, emphasized that the issue of gun violence cannot be addressed solely by focusing on firearms. Mental health and other underlying causes must also be acknowledged and addressed.

Rise Nevada highlighted the alarming fact that the UNLV shooting was the 633rd mass shooting in the United States in 2023. Unfortunately, this number has since risen to 636, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The recent discovery of a murder-suicide incident in northwest Las Vegas further adds to the growing tally.

The UNLV shooting has left a lasting impact on the students. Zena Hajji admitted that she no longer feels safe on campus, even though she resides there. The pressing question now is whether policymakers will take decisive action to address gun violence and its root causes.

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