The number of mentally ill students on U.S. college campuses has been increasing for some time now.
A year before I retired as a professor, I was so spooked by a male student in my evening course that I asked campus police to escort him from my class. I actually carried a gun in my brief case to class that night.
Little did I know that mental illness also plagues the professors, as is shown in the story below.
Therese Apel reports for The Clarion-Ledger, Sept. 14, 2015, that Ethan Schmidt, a father of three and an assistant professor of American history at Delta State University (DSU) in Cleveland, Mississippi, was shot dead near Jobe Hall on campus this morning. The shooter is still on the loose.
Bolivar County Coroner Dr. Nate Brown confirmed Schmidt’s death but could not give any further information at this time.
The campus is currently on lockdown. The university has released Twitter advisories telling people to stay inside and away from windows. The Cleveland School District says all local schools are on lockdown.
DSU, with an enrollment of more than 4,000 students, has been in class for about a month.
In an update, The Clarion-Ledger reports that The Sun Herald says the suspect is Shannon Lamb, 45, who is also a suspect in an earlier shooting in Gautier, which is about 300 miles south of DSU. The victim in Gautier has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, but authorities told reporters that Lamb and the victim were romantically involved.
NBC News says Lamb is identified on DSU’s website as a geography instructor.
Lamb is still at large. His Facebook page says he received his doctorate this year. Cryptically, Lamb tells people that it (his Ph.D.?) may have “dropped off the face of the earth for the past 18 months or so.”
Friends who have posted on his page are begging him to turn himself in.
Classes at DSU have been canceled for the remainder of the day and Monday night, as well as 90th anniversary commemorative events set for Tuesday.
All faculty, staff and students who have been cleared from academic buildings are being moved to Sillers Coliseum. Students currently in residence halls should remain there. Campus administrators are working to get food, water and counselors to the Coliseum. Police are working to clear all campus buildings, and students, faculty and staff should stay where they are until they are escorted out.
UPDATE (Sept. 16, 2015):
Lamb shot himself to death as police closed in on him. Lamb, 45, was a suspect in the slayings of 41-year-old Amy Prentiss, who was found dead in the home she shared with Lamb in Gautier; and 39-year-old Ethan Schmidt, a history professor who was killed in his office on campus in Cleveland. (Yahoo)
Lindsay Knowles, a close friend of Prentiss, said Prentiss and Lamb had been dating about three years, and that Prentiss had talked with Knowles about some fights between the couple. But Knowles said Prentiss never mentioned that Lamb had been violent with her. (Sun Herald)
All three were parents: Prentiss, a daughter; Schmidt, 3 kids; and Lamb, 2 kids.