Thomas Meixner, a University of Arizona professor, was shot dead on Wednesday, October 5, inside the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences building by a former student called Murad Dervish

Dervish reportedly used a handgun to shoot Meixner and then escaped from the university’s main gates. He was apprehended 120 miles away from the scene of the crime, at Gila Bend, around 5:10 PM. The university police have not yet clarified the relationship between Meixner and Dervish or the motive behind the murder.

Who was Thomas Meixner?

Thomas Meixner was the head of the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. He pursued an undergraduate course in history at the University of Maryland from 1988 to 1992. During this period, he was a Sigma Circle member.

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Meixner also holds a BS degree in soil science from the UoM, after which he joined the University of Arizona to pursue his PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources. His professional career began in July 1999, when he joined the University of California, Riverside, as an assistant professor and hydrologist in the Department of Environmental Sciences.

In January 2005, Meixner rejoined UoA, this time as a professor, and had been serving in the position till October 5, 2022, when he was shot dead on-campus by Dervish.

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After the death of Meixner, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted out his message of condolence and also listed a number of helplines where those grieving from the loss can seek help.

University President Robert C Robbins also sent out a statement on the institution’s official website, where he said that the university has “reached out to Dr. Meixner’s family, and ask that their grief and privacy be respected.” He further added, “This incident is a deep shock to our community, and it is a tragedy. I have no words that can undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss, and I am pained especially for Tom’s family members, colleagues and students.”