A longtime College of Southern Nevada sociology professor caused a campus-wide alert and is now facing felony gun charges after shooting himself in the arm “to protest President Donald Trump” on the second day of classes last month.
Mark J. Bird was charged last month with discharging a gun within a prohibited structure, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, court records show. He was found bleeding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his arm at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 28 outside a bathroom in the Charleston campus K building.
A 911 call was made after several college employees and at least one student saw Professor Bird stumble out of the bathroom, bleeding from the gunshot wound, before collapsing head-first into the pavement, according to the report. None of the witnesses — who later told police they recalled hearing “a loud noise” from the bathroom — initially knew that the professor was the gunman and had just shot himself as part of a bizarre protest against the President of the United States.
One college employee told police that he held Bird’s hand to calm him down as others tried to staunch the flow of blood from his upper arm. While waiting for authorities to arrive, Bird announced to the gathering crowd that he had shot himself in protest of President Donald Trump, police noted in their report. The report did not elaborate.
Inside the bathroom, campus police found a $100 bill taped to a mirror along with a note that said, “For the janitor,” according to Bird’s arrest report. On the floor of the restroom was a black-and-white, .22-caliber pistol and one spent shell casing.
Las Vegas Review Journal reports: A campus-wide alert was sent about 9 a.m. the day of the shooting, deeming the scene safe and alerting students that the firearm had been recovered. Except for a short mention in the lengthy September edition of “The Chronicle,” the college president’s monthly newsletter emailed to staff, the college did not disclose any more details about the shooting.
The brief update was at the bottom of the newsletter and did not name Bird as the suspect. Federico Zaragoza, who in August was named the college’s ninth president, wrote at the end of his newsletter, “I appreciate all of the expressions of concern and interest, and I pledge to keep everyone updated should the situation change.”
On Tuesday, Robert Manis, president of the college’s faculty union, Nevada Faculty Alliance, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he has heard a number of rumors about the shooting in the last two weeks. He expressed concerns about the way the college handled the shooting and about its lack of transparency afterward.
“They never really told the students much about it except that it was resolved on the actual day of the shooting,” he said. “When you don’t give the full details, then rumors go crazy. It’s unfortunate because it made the students and faculty very afraid and allowed rumors to proliferate.”
College spokesman Richard Lake told the Review-Journal that Mr. Bird still was employed as a professor emeritus as of Tuesday.
Professor Bird’s preliminary hearing for the felony gun charges is set for Sept. 17 in Las Vegas Justice Court.
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