A history professor was fatally shot Monday in his office at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., authorities said. Investigators are searching for another school employee potentially involved in the shooting.
Cleveland Police Chief Charles Bingham said during a news conference that Shannon Lamb is a “person of interest” in the shooting of 39-year-old Ethan Schmidt, Associated Press reports. Lamb is not believed to be on the Delta State University campus anymore, and the university tweeted that the shooter may be driving a black Dodge Avenger, according to USA Today.
The campus was still on lockdown Monday with reports of an active shooter, New York Times reports. The lockdown began just before 11 a.m. Monday. Classes were cancelled and students were evacuated from the school building by building.
“Fortunately for us, our public safety officers and university officials have trained many of us for active shooter situations,” an English professor Don Allan Mitchell said. “Many students are locked-down in classrooms, and professors and staff members are telling them the protocol. Plus, we are all texting and Facebooking each other to make sure we are safe.”
The school said that the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department along with the state, city and Delta State police are looking for the shooter. Gov. Phil Bryant also reached out to show his support. A spokeswoman for Bryant, Nicole Webb, said that Bryant is “in communication with President LaForge and with Department of Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz.”
Additionally, Matthew Hoggatt told The Sun Herald that a woman was found dead in her home in Gautier. Lamb is also a suspect in this woman’s death. “We’re working right now under the assumption that both events are related,” Hoggatt said. “We hope that they are not. But at this point in time, information indicates that they probably are linked in some way, shape or form.”
Schmidt was an associate professor of American History who taught both undergraduate and graduate courses, according to the university’s website. The Bolivar County Coroner’s office said that Schmidt was shot in his Jobe Hall office.
Faculty members were horrified to hear of the killing. Sean Cunningham, chairman of the Texas Tech University history department, said in a phone interview that Schmidt’s “presence in” the history department will be “deeply missed.” “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family–his wife and three children,” Cunningham said.