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2002 University of Arizona Nursing School murders

Gunman kills three, then himself
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Posted at 5:37 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 12:26:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Uvalde is just the latest in a long history of school shootings. It’s a history that includes the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing.

There’s a lesson for all of us in the string of mass shootings. Tucson has not been immune to them. We had one on Jan. 8 of 2011, and at the UArizona nursing school, three people were shot in a mass shooting twenty years ago.

On the morning of Oct. 28, 2002, Police swarmed to the UArizona nursing school. They found a place dedicated to saving lives had become a murder scene.

A nursing student, failing his courses, shot and killed nursing professors Robin Rogers, Barbara Monroe and Cheryl McGaffic. Then the man killed himself.

“That was a real eye-opener for us and how we conduct business, “ says UArizona Police Sergeant Sean Shields.

He says police understand— and try to help students and faculty understand— a peaceful university environment—and any environment can quickly turn from peaceful to deadly.

“Typically campus communities are very safe but you can never predict this type of incident happening. I know for us, the Community Engagement Unit, we do a lot of training in regard to active shooter so if people request that training, we can provide them tips on what to do in case a situation like that does happen.”

UArizona Nursing students we met say sooner or later they hear about the murders near where they learn their life saving skills.

Nursing student Chelsea Wieser says: “It just kind of makes it more real, you know? You hear about it on TV, you empathize. Like the shooting that just happened you cry. But here, (At UArizona College of Nursing) this program is really intense. And so it just kind of makes it more real that it's happened and you know, they change the numbers of the building, like rooms in the building. And so it's, it's kind of scary and sad.”

And these students know someday they could be involved with a mass shooting, as a person in danger, or a nurse working to save a life.

A garden memorial to those whose lives were taken exists on school grounds and can be seen online in 360° at plaza.sbs.arizona.edu/vr/?id=18.

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Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.