Old Time Crime: UofA professors killed in 2002 rampage

Posted at 9:32 AM, Oct 29, 2017

A University of Arizona College of Nursing student who was failing in his studies targeted nursing professors in a rampage that left three professors dead in 2002.

It was October 28, 2002, about 8:30 a.m. when Robert Stewart Flores Jr. entered the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson.

On the second floor of the building, Flores shot and killed Professor Robin Rogers in her office. Rogers taught pediatrics at the college.

He then moved up to the fourth floor, where he found professors Barbara Monroe and Cheryl McGaffic. He shot and killed the two professors, but released the students before committing suicide.

A student called 911 and over 30 Tucson police officers, who were training at a nearby park, responded to the university. The police cleared the building and confirmed that Flores took his own life. 

McGaffic, who taught a class on "Ethics and Death and Dying," was giving a test to her class and stood up to face Flores when she was shot. McGaffic was also a chaplain at University Medical Center. 

"Are you ready to meet your maker?"

The students would later recount that they knew, by the tone of his voice, that something was wrong as soon as Flores entered the room. Right before shooting the first teacher, he said he "was going to give her a lesson in spirituality."

He also spoke to Monroe before shooting her, asking her, "Are you ready to meet your maker?" She responded "yes," and he shot her multiple times.

Flores was 41 years old at the time, a Gulf War veteran who was working at a veterans' hospital in Tucson. He was failing his nursing classes at the university, and police said he made bomb threats to the school in the past.

"Greetings from the dead"

Investigators would later learn that Flores threatened suicide and to harm the school a year before the shootings.

He also sent a 22-page letter to the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson newspaper, that arrived the next day. The letter began with the phrase, "Greetings from the dead." He also said in the message, "I understand that I have committed homicide and that I have broken the laws of our society," he wrote. "I will save the taxpayers money and take care of the problem."

Along with the letter, Flores sent to the newspaper; he also sent his nursing license, college transcripts, military evaluations, recommendations from employers, and two birthday cards.