Police: College shooting suspect left note of apology

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Delta State University Shooting Suspect Dead

GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) — A university instructor told police he killed his girlfriend at a home they shared and investigators found a note there that said "I am so sorry I wish I could take it back" — but there was no hint he was headed a few hundred miles north to kill a colleague, police said Tuesday.

Shannon Lamb called 911 on Monday, telling a dispatcher he had killed 41-year-old Amy Prentiss at the home they shared in Gautier along the Gulf coast. In the call, Lamb refuses to give his name but says that family contact information can be found on Prentiss' phone. He says that their dog is still in the house, and "he's a sweet dog and he's not going to bother anybody but I'm sure he's upset."

When officers responded, the found the note written in all capital letters on a white, lined notepad, signed by Lamb: "I loved Amy and she is the only person who ever loved me."

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Shooting at Delta State University, Mississippi
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Police: College shooting suspect left note of apology
Students, faculty, staff and members of the community gather on the Delta State University campus in Cleveland, Miss., Tuesday night, Sept. 15, 2015 to pay tribute to history professor Ethan Schmidt who was killed in his office Monday morning by another instructor. Police say Shannon Lamb, an instructor at the same school, killed Schmidt. Lamb later died in Greenville of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Liz Schmidt, widow of Delta State University history professor Ethan Schmidt, center, who was murdered by a colleague in his office Monday, is comforted by friends, Jenn Westmoreland, left, and Amy Cotrell, during a candlelight memorial in his honor on the Cleveland, Miss., campus, Tuesday night, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Delta State University professor Charles Westmoreland, a friend and colleague of murdered history professor Ethan Schmidt, pays tribute to him during a ceremony at the Cleveland, Miss., school Tuesday night, Sept. 15, 2015. Schmidt was killed in his office Monday morning by another instructor. Police say Shannon Lamb, an instructor at the same school, killed Schmidt. Lamb later died in Greenville of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Liz Schmidt, widow of Delta State University history professor Ethan Schmidt, who was murdered by a colleague in his office Monday, left, is comforted by friends, Jenn Westmoreland, center and Amy Cotrell, prior to a candlelight memorial in his honor on the Cleveland, Miss., campus, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
This undated photo provided by Delta State University shows history professor Ethan Schmidt, who was killed Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. A college instructor suspected in the fatal killing of Schmidt was still at large late Monday. (Rory Doyle/Delta State University via AP) 
Investigators are searching for Shannon Lamb, displayed in a digital photograph released by the MississippiDepartment of Public Safety investigators to members of the media and held by a reporter, who they now consider a suspect in the death of Delta State University history professor Ethan Schmidt, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at the Cleveland, Miss., campus. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Law enforcement walk across the Delta State University campus to search for an active shooter in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. The suspect in the shooting has not yet been identified and remains at large. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
This photo provided by Gautier, Miss., police at a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, shows a hand-written note investigators found at the house where Amy Prentiss's body was found on Monday. Delta State University professor, Shannon Lamb, is accused of killing Prentiss, his girlfriend and a colleague, fellow Delta State professor Ethan Schmidt. Authorities say Lamb took his own life Monday night as police closed in on him in the aftermath of the killings. (Gautier, Miss Police via AP)
Law enforcement officers gather on the Delta State University campus to search for an active shooter in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. The authorities are looking for a another school employee in connection with the killing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Cleveland Police Chief Charles "Buster" Bingham speaks about the search for Shannon Lamb who is considered a suspect in the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Suspected gunman in Delta State University shooting found dead http://t.co/t5AnnODy2e http://t.co/pkxRpQF3Mw
Delta State University president William LaForge speaks to reporters about the continued need for a campus lockdown while an investigation continues for a university employee wanted for the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at the Cleveland, Miss., school, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Delta State University students listen as president William LaForge speaks to them in the school's coliseum about the presence of lawmen and the need for lockdown as an investigation continues for an active shooter wanted in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at the Cleveland, Miss., school, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Delta State University president William LaForge speaks to students in the school's coliseum about the presence of lawmen and the need for lockdown as an investigation continues for an active shooter wanted in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at the Cleveland, Miss., school, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Delta State University students cross state Highway 8 under police escort to go to their dorms as the Cleveland, Miss., school remains under lockdown following the campus shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office in Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. The highway runs through the northern part of the campus. Law enforcement continue to search for a another school employee in connection with the killing and the campus remained on lockdown in the afternoon. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A law enforcement officer walks across the Delta State University campus during a lockdown of the campus in connection with the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Law enforcement officers gather on the Delta State University campus to search for an active shooter in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. The authorities are looking for a another school employee in connection with the killing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Law enforcement walk across the Delta State University campus to search for an active shooter in connection with a the shooting of history professor Ethan Schmidt in his office at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Law enforcement are looking for a another school employee in connection with the killing. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
An environmental cleanup crew works in the office of Delta State University history professor Ethan Schmidt in Cleveland, Miss., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Police say Shannon Lamb, an instructor at the same school, killed Schmidt in his office Monday morning. Lamb later died in Greenville of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
An environmental cleanup crew works in the office of Delta State University history professor Ethan Schmidt in Cleveland, Miss., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Police say Shannon Lamb, an instructor at the same school, killed Schmidt in his office Monday morning. Lamb later died in Greenville of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A law enforcement officer stands watch as emergency vehicles clog a road adjacent to Delta State University after an active shooter was reported in Cleveland, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. A school official says one person has died following a shooting at Delta State University, and the campus remains on lockdown after reports of anactive shooter. (Courtney Warren/The Bolivar Commercial, via AP)

Prayers for students, faculty, and staff at Delta State University. Thanks to law enforcement.
BREAKING NEWS: Delta State University reports 'active shooter' on campus http://t.co/U65T0AOTk0
Pray for Delta State University. Campus remains in lockdown; active shooter leaves one professor dead. http://t.co/86ySFMdqGq
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Police say Lamb attacked again about 45 minutes after that Monday morning 911 call, this time shooting Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt, 39, inside his office.

Schmidt, a history professor, was shot three times in his neck, cheek and near the right eye in the doorway of his office with a book bag on his shoulder, an indication that he was either entering or leaving, Bolivar County Deputy Coroner Murray Roark said.

Lamb killed himself hours later as police closed in on him during a manhunt. At some point after shootings, he told family members he had no intention of going to jail. Relatives relayed that information to authorities.

Matt Hoggatt, a spokesman for Gautier police, said during a news conference Tuesday that Lamb had no criminal record, and there was no indication that he and Prentiss had a history of criminal domestic violence.

Police have not released a motive for either shooting. University President William LaForge said he didn't know of any conflict between Lamb and Schmidt but "obviously there was something in Mr. Lamb's mind."

A book published by Schmidt says in the acknowledgements that Schmidt considered himself "so lucky to have such wonderful people to share my academic life with," including Lamb.

Lamb had earlier asked for a medical leave of absence, saying he had a health issue of some sort, but LaForge gave no further information about it.

The shooting led to an hours-long lockdown at the college during which frightened students and faculty hid in classrooms and closets as authorities scoured the campus looking for Lamb. The campus was eventually cleared by police and authorities later found Lamb when a license plate reader picked up his plate as he crossed a bridge over the Mississippi River from Arkansas back into Mississippi, Cleveland police Chief Charles "Buster" Bingham said.

Lamb killed himself with a single .380 pistol shot to the forehead in the backyard of a home south of his parents' home on the outskirts of Greenville, Mississippi, said Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson. He left his car still running in the driveway. It was not immediately clear why Lamb went to that home, though Johnson said she believes he knew the people who lived there.

Lamb started working at the university, which has 3,500 students in a city of about 12,000, in 2009 and taught geography and education classes. He received a doctorate in education in the spring. He was teaching two online classes this semester, but an in-person class had been cancelled, LaForge said.

Lamb's career prospects at Delta State may have taken a turn because of a policy change.

After LaForge became president, he hired a new provost, Charles McAdams, who ended a practice whereby an instructor who earned a doctorate could automatically join the tenure track and become an assistant professor. LaForge said that practice violated state policy which requires an open search for new professor positions.

Brandon Beavers, an education major, said he had a class with Lamb last year.

"It was like that class you look forward to," Beavers said. "It was just cool."

However, he said Lamb seemed agitated.

"He was really jittery, like there was something wrong with him," Beavers said. "He was never in a bad mood, but he was real shaky."

One of Lamb's longtime friends described him Tuesday as smart, charismatic and funny. Carla Hairston said she and Lamb both grew up in Greenville, Mississippi.

Hairston said she was 15 and Lamb was 20 when they met through mutual friends. She and her friends were in high school, and he was the cool older guy who tried for several years to teach her to play guitar. He was a good teacher but she was an uncoordinated student, she said.

"He was quite the heartthrob back then. All the girls would melt when he was around," said Hairston, now 40 and living in the Jackson suburb of Brandon.

"He had the Elvis effect," Hairston said. "His voice was just like velvet, and people just loved to hear him talk."

Hairston said even when she wanted to be a rebellious teen and stay out late, Lamb made sure she and her friends went home by curfew. She said he was whip smart and would often quote song lyrics in conversation.

"He made corny and dorky look good," Hairston said.

Lamb and Prentiss had apparently been dating for some time. In the 911 call, Lamb said "I killed my wife," but there was no record of them ever marrying.

Prentiss' ex-husband said they divorced 15 years ago but remained friends and had a daughter who's now 19.

"She was completely devastated," he said of his daughter. "She and her mother were absolutely best friends."

Schmidt, the slain professor, directed the first-year seminar program and specialized in Native American and colonial history, said Don Allan Mitchell, an English professor at the school. He was married and had three young children.

Karen Manners Smith, a history professor at Emporia State University in Kansas, where Schmidt studied, called him "a super competent human being."

"He was president of his fraternity, in student government. He was an absolutely delightful student," she said.

At the campus of 3,500 students, the police blockades had been taken down, people were out cutting the grass and traffic moved normally, although there was not a lot of pedestrian traffic. A vigil was planned for Tuesday night, and classes resume Wednesday.

"We're trying to get our students to come back," LaForge said. "The crisis is over. This is a day of healing."

Sophomore Robert Holcomb attended a counseling session with dozens of other students and faculty. He was worried some students wouldn't return after the campus slaying.

"It was a chance to talk and share experiences," said Holcomb, a 32-year-old international business major from Seattle. "Some people having a harder time than others."


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