At about 11:45am local time on Wednesday 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 gunman was a professor who had unsuccessfully sought a job at the school, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. He previously worked at East Carolina University in North Carolina, said the official, 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.
One student who was on campus told a local ABC station that it seemed like police were on campus right away.
Describing the scene to the reporter he said: "You don't know what to do. You're calling your family, texting your friends like 'I love you guys' because he [the shooter] could burst through the door at any minute."
President Joe Biden said in a statement that UNLV is the "latest college campus to be terrorized by a horrific act of gun violence" and that he and First Lady Jill Biden are "praying for the families of our fallen".
Carolyn Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas, called it "tragic and heart-breaking news" and said she was "praying for everyone on campus".
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are assisting local police with the investigation.
The UNLV campus will also be closed on Thursday and Friday.