Another Delta State instructor named “person of interest” in professor’s killing

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(CNN) — Scores of local and federal law enforcement agents are scouring a Mississippi college campus after a history professor was shot to death in his office Monday.

History professor Ethan Schmidt was shot in the head in his office, Bolivar County Deputy Coroner Murray Roark said. The shooter remains at large, the coroner said.

Investigators say another instructor at the school in Cleveland, Mississippi, is a “person of interest” in the case, and police in a town 300 miles away described him as a suspect in another homicide there.

Shannon Lamb, an instructor at Delta State University

Shannon Lamb, an instructor at Delta State University

Authorities are searching for Shannon Lamb, Cleveland Police Chief Charles Bingham said. He described Lamb as an employee at the university and person of interest, but Bingham did not detail why investigators are calling him a person of interest or what his connection could be to Schmidt.

“At this time we don’t think he’s on campus,” Bingham said, “but we’re not taking anything lightly.”

The university, which is about 115 miles south of Memphis, remained on lockdown hours after the shooting. Night classes have also been canceled, said Michelle Roberts, vice president of university relations.

A biography of Lamb posted on the school’s website says he received his Ph.D. from Delta State in 2014, and has taught geography and social sciences education courses there.

Connected to another case?

Meanwhile, police in Gautier, Mississippi, are investigating a homicide that happened in the area Monday morning that could be connected to the fatal shooting of the Delta State University professor, Detective Matt Hoggatt with Gautier Police told CNN.

Hoggatt said Lamb is a suspect in the Gautier shooting. He was last seen driving a green SUV, Hoggatt said, and that vehicle has also been linked to the Delta State University shooting.

Authorities have not named any suspects in the university shooting. Gautier is about 300 miles away from the university.

The school had earlier tweeted on an official account that at least one person was killed in a shooting, and that the campus was on lockdown. The tweet advised that everyone stay indoors and away from windows. Classes have been canceled for the remainder of the day and evening.

Ethan Schmidt (Photo: Facebook)

Ethan Schmidt (Photo: Facebook)

Professor received teaching award

The hunt for Schmidt’s killer has brought together campus police and city police as well as the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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

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