Shocking new video shows man accused of storming a University of Arizona science building and shooting dead a professor claiming he had ‘completed his mission’ as he sat alone in a police interrogation room.
Thomas Meixner, 52, who headed the school’s hydrology and atmospheric science department, was shot four times on October 5. He was pronounced dead in the ER shortly after.
The suspected shooter was identified days later as former student Murad Dervish, 46, according to UA Police Chief Paula Balafas. He now faces trial for first degree murder and aggravated assault.
Authorities released surveillance video inside the building’s hallways as gunshots rang out and parts of police questioning with Dervish – but that’s what he said when police left the room that could prove his guilt.
“Well, at least I fulfilled my mission,” Dervish thought, audibly, as he stood alone in the interrogation room. It is unclear whether this will be ruled admissible at trial.
Shocking new video shows Murad Dervish claiming he ‘completed my mission’ when he allegedly entered the science building and opened fire, killing a University of Arizona professor
This undated photo provided Friday, October 7, 2022 by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office shows Murad Dervish
The interrogation itself shows Dervish appearing confused by the police’s very basic statements.
“I charge you with first degree murder,” an officer said.
“Oh, okay,” Dervish responds blankly.
“You look surprised,” the officer says before Dervish responds unintelligibly.
He eventually claims that he means nothing to the police without a lawyer, but when confronted by the police again, he begins to mock them.
“We have quite a bit of evidence and I think you know what that evidence is,” the officer says.
“Well, it’s a shame we can’t talk, we seem to have a lot in common,” Dervish replies sarcastically, a smirk visible even in the blurry surveillance video.
The officer then says he wants to hear Dervish’s side of the story.
“Well, at least I fulfilled my mission,” Dervish said audibly to himself as he stood alone in the interrogation room. It is unclear whether this will be ruled admissible at trial, but its fate may depend on it.
Thomas Meixner, 52, head of UA’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, was shot dead on campus on October 5, allegedly by a former student.
“I’m sure you’d like to hear it. You will hear my story in court,” he retorts.
Dervish was not read his Miranda rights by the police, according to SCS5meaning that testimony may very well be allowed to prove premeditation.
The professor’s identity was first confirmed by the Tucson Sentinel and tributes have since poured in for the educator, with one person calling his death a “crushing loss to the water community” and another declaring it a “sad day for science.”
According to a complaint, a second person, whose name has been blacked out, was treated at the scene after being hit by shrapnel.
The complaint signed by a judge in October in the Pima County Court of Justice said there was reasonable cause to pursue the case against Dervish.
In Arizona, charges aren’t filed until a preliminary hearing is held, and it was unclear when that would happen.
Campus police say the shooting took place after a woman called 911 asking police to escort a former student from the Harshbarger building.
The alleged shooter has been identified as Murad Dervish, 46, who was arrested shortly after the shooting
Video posted to social media shows the scene outside the building as emergency officials transport a man to a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance
Police said the on-campus shooting happened just after 2 p.m. inside the John W. Harshbarger Building near East Second Street and North Mountain Avenue.
His identity was first confirmed by the Tucson Sentinel and tributes have since poured in for the educator, with one person calling his death a “crushing loss to the water community”.
Officers were on their way when they received reports that a man had shot someone and then fled.
Campus alerts asked people to avoid the area, which was under lockdown. Classes, activities and other campus events have been canceled for the rest of the day.
State troopers arrested Dervish hours later about 120 miles (190 kilometers) northwest of the Tucson campus.
The complaint says officials found a 9mm handgun in the vehicle, along with ammunition matching the 11 casings found at the scene of the shooting.
The relationship between Dervish and Meixner remains unclear, but the interim complaint says a flyer with a photo of Dervish, a former graduate student, was distributed to college staff in February with instructions to call 911 if he entered the building.
He also said he was “evicted” and “banned from being on University of Arizona property.”
“Dervish has been the subject of multiple reports of harassment and threats against staff members working at Harshbarger,” the complaint states.
Meixner was an expert on desert water issues. Professors and former students described as a kind and brilliant colleague.
“This incident is a profound shock to our community, and it is a tragedy,” Robbins said in a statement late Wednesday.
Meixner earned a doctorate in hydrology and water resources from the university in 1999 and joined the faculty in 2005 before becoming department head in 2019. He left behind a wife and two sons.