Emporia State prepares to honor slain alum with vigil

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Home of the Hornets, Emporia State University, is preparing to remember and honor one of their own, Dr. Ethan A. Schmidt, at a vigil. The alum was shot and killed in an office of Delta State University where he taught in Cleveland, Mississippi. The school and community will commemorate his life outside of the Phi Delta Theta house at 9 pm Tuesday night. Dr. Schmidt was a member of PDT during his time in Emporia and previously served as an advisor.

Meanwhile, Tuesday morning the president of Delta State University where murdered Kansas native Dr. Ethan Schmidt taught, called the professor  a “wonderful fellow” and a “star” of the faculty, the university’s president said. That’s according to a report by NBC News. William N. LaForge spoke publicly after police revealed that the suspected gunman had killed himself.

Shannon Lamb, a geography instructor, was suspected in the murder of his girlfriend and hours later the shooting death of his colleague, DSU history professor Dr. Ethan Schmidt. The license plate reader on an officer’s patrol car picked up on Lamb’s car. After being pulled over by police, Lamb reportedly ran out of the car into a wooded area. Officers then heard a single shot before finding Lamb dead of a self-inflicted wound.

A license plate reader also helped law enforcement find and stop the suspected shooter in the deaths of a television news team in Virginia just weeks ago. The suspect in that case also committed suicide after being cornered by police.

An all-day, all-night Delta State University campus lockdown that began Monday morning was finally lifted Tuesday morning. University offices opened at 10 a.m., however classes remained cancelled for the day. Monday night as the suspected gunman remained on the loose, students were only allowed a one hour window of time to leave campus if they wished to. Law enforcement remained on campus through the night to guard the residence halls and secure the campus. Tuesday morning Delta State began offering counseling services for group sessions as well as private ones. Counselors will also be made available in the residence halls.

Those who knew Dr. Schmidt continue to share their grief on social media. Jeanna Wilkes tweeted: “You were the best “peer” mentor, classmate, colleague, & my very best friend @DeltaState. Another woman, Aliza Wong, posted this: “I am thinking of my friend @DocJayhawk, how much he loved his family, how privileged he felt to teach, how he taught us all to rock chalk.” Dr. Schmidt held three degrees from Emporia State University and obtained his doctorate from the University of Kansas.

On the Delta State website, the university thanked police: “The university greatly appreciates the assistance of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers in keeping the campus safe.” A photo was posted of IHL Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Glenn F. Boyce and DSU President William N. LaForge posing with members of the Delta State University Police Department, Cleveland Police Department, and the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department. Other agencies, including state and federal, also responded to the scene.

Also Tuesday night, the Delta State University community will come together for a memorial vigil at 7 pm; two hours before the vigil at Emporia State.

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