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Former Student Who Murdered University of Arizona Professor Had Previously Been Expelled, Made Threats: Cops

Murad Dervish (left) and Thomas Meixner

Murad Dervish (left) and Thomas Meixner

A former student who shot and killed a university professor had been expelled and kicked out of campus months ago, according to local reports out of Arizona. Staff at the University of Arizona received an email in February, featuring a picture of Murad Dervish , 46, and a warning about him, according to documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Jump to Wednesday afternoon. Dervish allegedly showed up to the school’s John W. Harshbarger Building. Someone called the police on him because he was not supposed to be there, university Police Chief Paula Balafas has said. This allegedly escalated to Dervish shooting and killing Dr. Thomas Meixner of the Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences. Dervish also allegedly injured a second person with bullet fragments. Officers said Dervish fled the scene, but the Arizona Department of Public Safety found him about three hours later outside of the town of Gila Bend.

Dervish reportedly led cops on a two-to-three mile chase down Highway 85 until officers stopped him with a PIT maneuver.

Meixner was pronounced dead at a hospital, having been shot four times with a nine millimeter handgun. There were 11 shell casings at the office where he was shot, officers said.

“I hope he’s okay,” Dervish allegedly told police during his arrest, according to documents obtained by KOLD. “Probably wishful thinking.”

“I just felt so disrespected by that whole department,” he also allegedly said.

But officers said Dervish had previously made threats to workers at the Harshbarger building. Going back further, he reportedly faced a 2011 case for domestic violence in San Diego. He was also accused that year of stalking and harassing a female student at San Diego State University, where he was a teacher.

The reason for Dervish’s expulsion is reportedly unclear. So are his precise links to Meixner.

“We have reached out to Dr. Meixner’s family, and ask that their grief and privacy be respected,” University President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement after the shooting. “This incident is a deep shock to our community, and it is a tragedy. I have no words that can undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss, and I am pained especially for Tom’s family members, colleagues and students. I encourage you to have compassion for one another and to care for yourselves and those around you during this difficult time.”

Dervish is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

[Image of Dervish via University of Arizona Police; image of Meixner via University of Arizona]

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