Professor among two dead in University of South Carolina shooting
A University of South Carolina professor died of multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body after being shot in an apparent murder-suicide in a campus building in downtown Columbia, a coroner said on Friday.
Dr. Raja Fayad, 45, appeared to be the victim in Thursday’s incident, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said. The likely shooter, also dead, will be identified after that person’s family is notified, Watts added.
He was shot with a semi-automatic handgun, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry told Reuters.
The shooter had a long-term relationship with the professor, Berry said. No suicide note was found.
Fayad was an associate professor of applied physiology who served as graduate director at the university’s Arnold School of Public Health. University officials told the coroner that Fayad was born in Lebanon.
He was found on Thursday afternoon in a fourth-floor office at the school’s research building, police said. The shooting, which occurred just blocks from the state capitol and governor’s office, put the campus of about 30,000 students on lockdown for around an hour.
Classes were canceled for Friday at the public health school, and student leaders planned to hold a memorial candlelight vigil.
“The sun is out this morning,” university President Harris Pastides said on Twitter. “Let’s honor Professor Fayad with respect. Show someone that we care.”
Fayad had been at the university since 2008, according to the school. He graduated from the Aleppo University School of Medicine in Syria in 1995, according to university documents, and was a specialist in colon cancer research.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Will Dunham and Sandra Maler)