Greenville, Sep 15: A college instructor suspected in the fatal shootings of a woman he lived with on Mississippi's Gulf Coast and a professor at Delta State University 300 miles away died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after trying to flee police, authorities said. Shannon Lamb had earlier told authorities that he was "not going to jail."
Police in Greenville, Mississippi, were following Lamb as he was driving when the suspect pulled over and jumped out of his car, Lynn Buford, chief of the Delta State University police, told The Associated Press.
One of the victims was killed at the university yesterday. When police gave chase, they heard one gunshot and then found Lamb, Buford said. They took him to a hospital in Greenville where he was pronounced dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Buford said.
Lamb's death brought to an end a chaotic day that saw terrified students and teachers hunkered down in classrooms for hours. The Delta State campus was put on lockdown as armed officers methodically went through buildings, checking in closets, behind doors and under tables and desks.
University President William LaForge told the AP late on Monday that the lockdown had been lifted. He said there would be no classes today but students, faculty and staff are invited to campus to attend a vigil in the evening to honor the staff member who was killed.
"We're relieved that this tragedy is over," LaForge said. Investigators said Lamb, 45, was a suspect in the slayings of 41-year-old Amy Prentiss, who was found dead in the home she shared with Lamb in Gautier; and 39-year-old Ethan Schmidt, a history professor who was killed in his own office on campus in Cleveland. Officers in the two cities said they had not uncovered a motive for either slaying.
Gautier Police Lt. Scott Wilson and another officer whose name was not given said during a news conference Monday in Gautier said they had spoken with Lamb. In the news conference broadcast on WLOX-TV, the unidentified officer said "anyone coming into contact with Lamb should use extreme caution because police had spoken to the suspect and "he's made the statement that he's not going to jail."
He would not say when or how police spoke to Lamb. Lamb received a doctorate in education from Delta State University in the spring of 2015, according to his resume posted on the university's website. He started working there in 2009 and taught geography and education classes, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, according to the resume.
LaForge said Lamb was teaching two online classes this semester. Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Johnny Poulos said investigators were searching for a black 2011 Dodge Avenger that they believe Lamb was driving.
The 3,500-student university in Cleveland is in Mississippi's flat, agricultural region near the Arkansas state line. It was first put on lockdown mid-morning amid reports of an active shooter. Everyone on campus was told to take shelter, away from windows.