- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) A student flunking out of the University of Arizona nursing school fatally shot three of his professors yesterday, then killed himself as dozens of terrified students rushed to get away.
Police said Robert Flores Jr., 41, targeted the instructors, killing one in her office on the second floor and shooting the others in a fourth-floor classroom as students dove for cover.
Flores walked to the front of the classroom and shot the first victim several times, then went to the back of the room and killed the second victim, police said.
Senior Julie Raymond said she was taking an exam when the gunman came in.
"We just thought that he was late for the test," Miss Raymond said. "Then he started talking to instructors and fired shots. All of us ducked under the tables and then ran out of the room. At first, I thought it was a joke and realized it wasn't when I heard the shots."
Flores told students in the room to leave. He was later found dead by officers searching the school.
University Vice Provost Elizabeth Irvin said Flores had failed a pediatric nursing class and was struggling in a critical care class.
All three victims Robin Rogers, 50, Barbara Monroe, 45, and Cheryl McGaffic, 44 were Flores' instructors, Police Chief Richard Miranda said.
"It's too soon to say why he committed this terrible deed," Chief Miranda said. "We have determined that there are many issues in Mr. Flores' life, all of which are a factor."
Bomb squad members were called in after a backpack or package was found underneath the gunman's body. The suspect had earlier threatened to blow up the building, though it was not clear when the threat was made, Chief Miranda said. The college and nearby buildings were evacuated.
Authorities continued to check for explosives into the evening.
Flores, a Gulf War veteran, worked at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System as a licensed practical nurse who was employed by a nursing agency, said Spencer Ralston, associate director for the health care system. It wasn't clear in which branch of the military Flores served.
Lori Schenkel, who was in the building during the shootings, said two students banged on her classroom door and told everyone to get out.
"We ran out of the building, and there were police telling us to run away," Miss Schenkel said.
Miss Schenkel said she had several classes with Flores and he told classmates about a year ago that he had gotten a concealed-weapon permit.
"He was just a very aggravated student, a rude, obnoxious type of person," she said. "He came across as very aggressive and mean, and seemed to have a lot of issues with being angry."
Nurse William Gordon, who worked with Flores at the VA hospital and knew him for three years, said he saw nothing that would foreshadow violence. He said Flores dropped out of a nursing ethics class last semester and seemed upset, but it wasn't an unusual reaction.
"I didn't pick up anything majorly confrontational with him regarding the instructor," Mr. Gordon said. "Nothing that would alarm you."
University President Peter Likens called the shooting an isolated incident. He said there were no immediate plans to change security procedures at the 34,000-student university, which includes the 380-student nursing school.

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