Delta State suspect left note, made 911 call; police struggle to find motive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Shannon Lamb, an instructor at Delta State University

(CNN) — A 911 call and a handwritten note from Shannon Lamb did little to solve the mystery of the killings of his girlfriend and a Delta State University professor.

Lamb, who police say took his own life as they closed in on him, was the suspect in the deaths of Ethan Schmidt, who was shot in the head in his office on the Delta State campus in Cleveland, Mississippi, and of Amy Prentiss, who was found shot to death at a home in Gautier, about 300 miles south on the Gulf Coast.

Prentiss’ body was found Monday morning after a man police say was Lamb called 911 and said they should go to the home.

“What’s going on there?” the dispatcher asked.

“I shot my wife last night,” the man said with a sigh.

He also mentioned there was a dog in the house.

“He’s a sweet dog,” the man said. “He’s not going to bother anyone, but I’m sure he’s upset.”

Asked to identify himself later in the call, the man declined. “That’s all I feel like saying right now,” he said.

Once at the house, officers found Prentiss’ body and a note signed by Lamb.

“I’m so very sorry. I wish I could take it back,” the note said. “I loved Amy and she is the only person who ever loved me.”

Authorities said they believe Lamb, 45, killed Prentiss and then drove to Delta State and killed Schmidt.

What’s the connection?

Lamb and Schmidt were colleagues at Delta State. Both taught there.

And Lamb lived with Prentiss. They were involved in a romantic relationship, police said.

But beyond that connection, authorities have said little about a motive and outright dismissed the notion of a love triangle involving Lamb, Prentiss and Schmidt.

“At this time, Gautier police have no indication of any relationship between the victim at Delta State and the victim in Gautier, Mississippi,” Detective Matt Hoggatt said at a Tuesday news conference.

“We are continuing our investigation to search for a motive in the homicide of Amy Prentiss.”

The search ends

A daylong manhunt ended late Monday when police closed on Lamb,

Officers saw him pull over his car near Greenville and run into the woods. Soon afterward, they heard a single gunshot and found Lamb’s body.

Ethan Schmidt (Photo: Facebook)

Ethan Schmidt (Photo: Facebook)

Who was Ethan Schmidt?

Schmidt’s Delta State biography says that he taught undergraduate courses in American history, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in 2007. Schmidt had written several books and scholarly papers and had expertise in Native American history.

Before working at Delta State, Schmidt taught for six years at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.