CLEVELAND, Miss.–Classes at Delta State University were canceled Monday and school Pres. Dr. William LaForge said at a Monday press conference that classes would be suspended Tuesday as well. He said that grief counselors and trained personnel would be brought in, courtesy of the other public universities in Mississippi.
Monday’s shooting death of Prof. Ethan Schmidt at the hands of fellow Prof. Shannon Lamb happened at about 10:20 a.m. while students were in class. Some of them heard the shots in Jobe Hall, which is on the east side of campus, just yards away from the quad.
“He was beloved by everybody. He was very active on campus and off campus as well,” said Don Allen Mitchell, professor of English, and interim chair of the Dept. of Languages and Literature.
Mitchell knew both professors.
“He was a great dad, great family man. We were all just stunned.” Mitchell described the shooting as “out of the blue”.
But, he said the school was ready.
“The law enforcement, public safety officials here at the school did a great job getting the word out. Everybody followed the protocol.”
Mitchell said the school had done some training for active shooters, thanks to the events at Virginia Tech.
“Ethan’s colleagues in the History Dept., Ryan Becker and Chuck Westmoreland, were particularly good with the kids who were in Jobe Hall at the time.”
He said Lamb had been on leave this semester, but he did not speculate on why.
Mitchell asked that people keep the families in their prayers.
Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education for Mississippi, issued a statement Monday:
“The Board of Trustees and I are extremely saddened by the passing of Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. We commend the Delta State University police and leadership for the quick response to the situation and their efforts to keep students, faculty and staff safe. We would also like to thank the other law enforcement agencies who have responded for their immediate and ongoing assistance to the university. We are in constant communication with the campus and are working with campus officials to provide assistance where needed.”