Wyo. police: 2 slain before killer takes own life

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The first victim was found in the gutter of a quiet residential street, just as the killer was shedding blood again on the campus of a nearby community college.

Wielding some kind of sharp-edged weapon, he killed a community college instructor before taking his own life in front of a classroom of students.

Police wouldn’t speculate on a motive for the murder-suicide and said little about how it all developed Friday at Casper College and in a neighborhood about two miles away. They hinted, however, that the three knew each another.

Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said an “edged weapon” was used in at least one of the killings. He didn’t say more about what type of weapon it was and whether the killer used the same weapon in all of the deaths.

He said he didn’t know how many students were in the class or what the topic was. The attacker wasn’t believed to be a Casper College student but it appeared he knew the victims, he said.

No names were released.

“We’re locating next of kin and working on notification absolutely as fast as we can,” Walsh said.

The campus was locked down and class called off for the day. Later, after the lockdown, students who lived on campus trickled back to their dorm rooms.

The violence came as a shock to this typically peaceful prairie city of about 56,000 in east-central Wyoming.

“It was a little bit of a wake-up call,” said freshman Nathan Hansen, of Glenrock, a town of 2,500 about 30 miles east of Casper. “It was kind of odd hearing news of that happening here.”

Authorities said they didn’t believe there was any further threat to the community.

All students and staff were evacuated from the classroom building where the attack occurred just before 9 a.m. MST.

The college sent out a campus-wide alert via text message and email within two minutes of receiving word of the attack at 9:06 a.m., school spokesman Rich Fujita said. The lockdown ended at about 11 a.m. after school officials received word that police were no longer searching for a suspect, Fujita said.

There are fewer classes on Fridays than any other day of the week at Casper College, so only between 1,500 and 2,000 of the college’s 5,000 students were there, he added.

“It is particularly painful because of our size,” Fujita said of the small, tight-knit campus.

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