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Professor’s Note Says He Shot Himself With Derringer On Campus To Push AR-15 Ban

Professor Mark Bird said he brought a gun to the College of Southern Nevada to shoot himself to protest President Trump.

Las Vegas, NV – A College of Southern Nevada sociology professor who wanted to protest President Donald Trump and assault weapons went out and bought a gun to shoot himself with on campus.

He also brought his own first aid supplies and rubber band to use as a tourniquet.

Mark J. Bird, professor emeritus, wrote a series of apology letters that explained his actions, and left them to be distributed to recipients after he shot himself, according to the incident report Blue Lives Matter obtained from the school.

The report included a letter addressed to College of Southern Nevada President Federico Zaragoza and Vice President Margo Martin.

In the letter, the 58-year-old professor apologized for his actions and explained why he had shot himself in a bathroom of the K building on the school’s Charleston campus.

Despite the fact that Bird told students, staff and arresting officers on the scene that the “the main reason why he shot himself was due to the fact that he is upset with the way President Trump was running our country,” his explanatory letters never mentioned the President.

In the apology note, Bird referenced a CBS news story that said 100 million people had been killed by malnutrition and pollution over the past decade. The he blamed the Las Vegas massacre for his actions.

“A less significant motivation relates to the October 1, 2017 mass shooting from the Mandalay Hotel that killed 58 people,” Bird wrote. “Since this incident, there has been no national legislation banning bump stocks, banning civilian ownership of AR-15 type assault weapons, and the passage of universal background checks legislation.”

“Apparently it is about as easy to buy an AR-15 as a 2-shot derringer,” he continued, referencing the weapon he’d used to shoot himself.

The shooting occurred at about 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 28 as classes were beginning for the second day of the semester at the College of Southern Nevada.

The first witness police interviewed said she had seen Bird with students outside a classroom several minutes before he shot himself. She noted that the professor did not have any classes scheduled.

Bird went into the bathroom and shot himself, and then stumbled out into the hallway bleeding and collapsed.

The first witness told police she saw him bleeding and called 911, but told officers she did not realize Bird had been armed at that time.

When officers arrived, Bird was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall as witnesses tried to render aid, according to the police report.

The first witness told police that a student had put a "tourniquet" on the wounded professor.

When the student was questioned by College of Southern Nevada Police Officer McCleve, she told him “she used a blue rubber band that Bird provided to her.”

The student told the officer that that “[Professor Bird] brought everything.”

Officer McCleve wrote in his narrative of the incident that another witness told him that Bird had asked her grab the envelopes he left in the restroom after he shot himself.

She went into the bathroom and smelled a “strong smell of gunpowder,” and saw a gun on the floor.

The witness told the police she found the envelopes Bird had asked for and tried to give them to the wounded professor, according to the police report.

Bird refused to take the envelopes and instead insisted the witness deliver them to the people whose names were written on the envelopes.

She gave them to the first witness because the first witness’s name was on one of the envelopes. That person turned them over to police.

All three letters were exactly the same, the police report said.

In the envelope for the college president, Bird had also included a receipt for his gun and for the background check.

Officers found a black and white .22-caliber Cobra Firearms Derringer two-shot pistol and a copper-colored bullet fragment on the floor of the bathroom, according to the report.

Officer Summerlin wrote in the police report that the box for the weapon had been left on the bathroom floor.

Police also found a $100 bill taped to the mirror above the sinks with a note that said “For the janitor.”

Outside the restroom door, police recovered a bloodstained briefcase Bird had used to transport his tiny gun into the college’s bathroom, the police report said.

Bird was transported to the hospital where trauma physicians declared his injury to be a through-and-through gunshot wound.

He told the doctors that he was upset about current events and said “specifically that Trump had upset him,” the police report said.

After Bird had been treated at the hospital, he waived his right to an attorney and was interviewed by Officer Summerlin at the hospital, before he was admitted for a mental health evaluation.

The professor said he had waited in the hallway until all of the students had gone into classrooms before he locked himself in the unisex bathroom and loaded two bullets into his gun. Then he held the weapon to his left forearm and fired.

Bird told Officer Summerlin that he had not intended to kill himself, and that if that had been his intention, he would have shot himself in the head, according to the police report. The professor told the police he had no suicidal thoughts nor any intention of hurting others.

He told police that he had brought the gun to the college to shoot himself because he was unsure of how much blood he would lose, and he knew he would get medical assistance in the campus building. He said the College of Southern Nevada police “would not allow him to die.”

Bird told Officer Summerlin that he had purchased the gun to shoot himself about two months earlier, and that he only bought two rounds of ammunition because he only needed to fire the gun once.

He told the officer that the gun’s instructions implied it had to be loaded with two bullets to fire, the police report said. This suggests that Bird had never operated a firearm before.

The professor told the officer he was “upset with the way President Trump was running our country. He stated that he did not agree with the policies that Trump had put into place and he felt someone needed to take a stand to prove a point,” Officer Summerlin wrote in his narrative.

Bird told the officer he had also sent letters to the district attorney and a news station in Hawaii.

“He then proceeded to explain that he did not shoot himself in protest, but rather to promote better gun control,” Officer Summerlin wrote.

The professor explained he had chosen to shoot himself in the left forearm because he was right-handed and research had taught him that he would do the least damage in that area.

“He stated that he knew he had a 50/50 chance of hitting a major artery in his arm and he did a good job by completely missing his artery and he was very pleased that he was in absolutely no pain and didn’t need any pain medication,” the report said.

According to Officer Summerlin, Bird stated that he believed that by shooting himself he was able to “effectively deliver the message he intended to deliver.”

The professor told police he hadn’t told anybody else his plan because he didn’t want to be stopped.

“He expressed how important it was that he followed through with shooting himself because if he did not then the issues at hand would go unresolved and Trump would continue to put policies in place that negatively affect the American people,” Officer Summerlin wrote.

Bird told the officer that he had thought his plan through very carefully and researched as well.

He told Officer Summerlin that he didn’t think he had done anything wrong by bringing a firearm onto campus because “these were important issues,” the police report said.

Court records showed that Bird was charged with discharging a gun within a prohibited structure, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and possessing a dangerous weapon on school property. He was ordered held on a $50,000 bond.

He remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center as of Sept. 13, when Officer McCleve was sent to the facility to give Bird a trespass notice that banned him from returning to campus, according to an addendum to the police report on Thursday.

Students and faculty were unhappy about the college’s handling of the incident.

Only a brief alert was sent out to students via text and email at about 8:47 a.m., with little detail included and no follow-up.

“CSNPD investigsting (sic) person in Charleston (sic) K building bathroom with injuries. Firearm recovered, medical here, Scene is safe,” was the entirety of the message shared with the campus population, according to an email to Blue Lives Matter from a College of Southern Nevada spokesperson.

The spokesman refused to provide any information to Blue Lives Matter regarding the professor’s employment status after the trespass notice.

Sandy Malone - September Fri, 2018


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