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Teacher Had Warned of Ariz. Shooter

October 29, 2002

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ A year and a half before a University of Arizona nursing student killed three of his professors and then himself, an instructor told police the student had thought about ``ending it all″ and ``might put something under the college.″

Instructor Melissa M. Goldsmith told police that Robert S. Flores Jr. said he was having problems with a paper but also had a lot of problems other than school, according to the university police department report filed on April 24, 2001.

``He was depressed and thought about ‘ending it all.’ Flores then stated he ’might put something under the college,‴ according to the report, which was provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday by university police.

The report said an officer called Flores and left a message. ``I will follow up at a later date and contact Flores,″ the report said. It was not clear whether police followed up.

University Police Chief Anthony Daykin and Commander Brian Seastone were away from their offices and couldn’t be reached Tuesday. Goldsmith did not return a message.

Sharon Ewing, a clinical professor at the College of Nursing, said it was common knowledge among the faculty that Flores, a 41-year-old Gulf War veteran, was depressed. She said all three victims had tried to help him.

Flores, who had failed a pediatric nursing class and was struggling in a critical care class this term, went to the nursing school Monday carrying five handguns and at least 200 rounds of ammunition.

Police said Flores killed assistant professor Robin Rogers, 50, in her office on the second floor of the building, then went to the fourth floor and walked into a classroom full of students taking a test being given by two teachers.

There, he confronted Cheryl McGaffic, a 44-year-old associate professor who studied death and dying and the relationship between health and spirituality in seriously ill patients.

Witnesses said he told McGaffic ``he was going to give her a lesson in spirituality,″ then fired two shots into her chest and, after she fell, two more into her head.

Assistant professor Barbara Monroe, 45, was cowering behind a desk in the back of the room as Flores approached, witnesses said. ``He asked her if she was ready to meet her maker. She said ‘Yes,’ and then he shot her once and then twice more,″ student Gena Johnson said.

Flores then turned one of the guns on himself.

The nursing school remained closed Tuesday, with police tape blocking access. Many employees at the medical school complex embraced as they went into work. Some were dressed in black.

``I feel terrible this morning,″ said Melody Pelot, 55, who works at the complex. ``As I walked past the police tape I thought, ‘This is just mind boggling.’ Someone lost their mother, their wives, in that building.″


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