A university employee has been identified as a “person of interest” in the fatal shooting of a professor.The body of Delta State University history professor Dr Ethan Schmidt was found in his office on Monday morning, prompting a campus-wide lockdown.
Dr Shannon Lamb, who works in the Mississippi school’s education department, was later identified as a suspect in the shooting.
Police Chief Charles Bingham did not reveal a motive for the killing, but he did say Lamb was suspected in a separate killing in Gautier, about 300 miles (580km) away.
A Gautier police spokesman told the Sun Herald newspaper in Mississippi a woman was found dead in her home there, and authorities are working “under the assumption that both events are related”.
The woman’s identity was not released.
Delta State was placed on lockdown at about 10.45am local time after Dr Schmidt’s body was discovered.
SWAT teams were seen clearing buildings and police helicopters patrolled above the school in Cleveland, about 20 miles east of the Mississippi-Arkansas state line.
Hours later, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety said authorities believed the suspect may have fled the campus.
The university remained on lockdown, however, and classes were cancelled through the evening.
Students and staff were advised to stay away from windows and wait for additional information as the manhunt continued.
The school’s Twitter account said the shooter was last spotted near Jobe Hall, where the professor’s body was found.
According to the school’s website, Dr Schmidt previously taught for six years at Texas Tech University, where he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.
He specialised in Native Americans studies.
A fellow professor at Delta State described Dr Schmidt as “a gentlemen in every sense of the word”.
Lamb joined the university in 2009 and is listed as a geographer and coordinator of social sciences education, according to the school’s website.
Some 3,500 students are enrolled at the university.