This past spring, out of an abundance of caution, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law went remote for the last week of classes as well as final exams due to alleged threats made against the school. At the time, scant details were provided to students and faculty but thanks to a local news station, everyone now knows why the law school chose to make these moves.
Arizona Law records reveal that a student who was reportedly in crisis and was known to carry a 9MM handgun — sometimes on school grounds — had been sending texts messages and making social media posts that were of great concern. 13 News has additional details:
The report says her friends noticed she was acting quote “oddly” and using “odd speech” and said “I’m going to shoot people.” She also made multiple statements expressing fear that she would be a victim of a mass shooting.
On one occasion she made a post that said, “I pack a loaded 9mm around with me because I’d rather kill a transphobe than get killed. But even then, I’d still probably die in a gunfight.” And another that said: “I don’t want to die. I think I will make it out. But if I don’t make it out. Read this at my funeral.”
According to the report, on April 10th, she was checked into the hospital for mental health reasons. On April 13th, friends were able to help recover the handgun and give it to the police.
As noted by 13 News, police later recovered the law student’s phone, where they found disturbing messages related to “killing people at the UA campus.” Within the student’s Google search history, police discovered queries related to mass shootings, a local shooting range, the Michigan State shooting, and achieving accuracy in shooting a gun.
The student in question has since been banned from Arizona Law’s campus as well as all university activities. Police are still in possession of the gun her friends recovered in April, and this summer, she was red-flagged in the federal NICS database from future gun purchases.
On Friday, Arizona Law’s interim chief public safety officer sent a lengthy message to students, noting that the issue had been deemed a “mental health-related case rather than a criminal matter.” Here’s more:
The investigation by the University of Arizona Police Department found that friends identified a student in crisis off-campus in April and sought care for their friend. While the student was in supervised care—and therefore posed no threat to the campus community—the student’s friends turned in a loaded handgun to the Tucson Police Department and informed them that the student had made verbal threats, although later statements indicated that the threat was less clear.
When classes resumed in person at the College of Law, the student was still in supervised care, the gun that allegedly belonged to the student was, and still is, in the possession of law enforcement, and UAPD determined there was no threat to campus at that time.
Based on the information that was available at the time, we are confident the College of Law and the University took all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff during the uncertainty. We particularly want to recognize and thank the College of Law leadership, faculty, staff and students for their care, concern and diligence.
There is no threat to the law school at this time, and the student in question continues to be monitored by relevant authorities.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.