In what law enforcement officials are calling a murder-suicide, a University of South Carolina professor and the gunmen were killed. Following the shooting, the majority of the campus was shot down for a couple of hours.
Heading up the Division of Applied Physiology, as well as colon cancer expert at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health, Raja Fayad was killed. According to officials, the murder-suicide happened on the fourth-floor of that building.
Agents with the state Law Enforcement Division arrived at Fayad’s home this afternoon to conduct a search and talk to neighbors. From reports, it was determined that while Fayad was from Lebanon, he had moved into his home in 2008. According to documents from USC, he earned his degree in Syria.
According to USC’s president Harris Pastides, today the university experienced a horrific tragedy. In his statement, Pastides said that the entire community was reaching out with prayers and support for both families, saying the grieving period will be long and for any students or faculty that needs assistance, experts will be available at the counseling center.
The building in which the shooting occurred had only been opened for a few years. Several hours after the shooting, the bodies of the two individuals had not yet been moved. Spokesman for SLED, Thom Berry commented at 2:30 that other than the man involved who was no deceased, there was no other active shooter.
Following protocol, a school wide alert text was sent out at 1:16 saying “shots fired at new school of public health. Seek safe shelter”. Students on the receiving end of the text praised the school with many admitting it was through the message they learned of the campus activity. In all, three text messages were sent along with four emails.
Although many students took the messages seriously by getting to a safe place quickly, as the campus went into lockdown there were still a number of students walking from one location to another without any urgency. It was after 3:00 pm that the USC campus began calming down and things resuming normally.
It has been over 30 years since a multiple shooting took place at the University of South Carolina, In 1979, two students were killed and five injured by an 18-year-old student. Then in the 1980s, a professor in the Administration Building committed suicide. However, the way in which on-campus shootings are being handled today ensures greater safety.
Apparently, the shootings happened fast. At this time, a formal investigation is underway so the identities of the second individual may not be released to the public for days.