Graduate Student Hid Gun before Shooting, Police Say 3 Professors Are Gunned Down at San Diego State U

By Compiled From News Services | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 17, 1996 | Go to article overview

Graduate Student Hid Gun before Shooting, Police Say 3 Professors Are Gunned Down at San Diego State U


Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Police said Friday that the graduate student accused of slaying three professors during his thesis presentation used a gun he had hidden earlier in the interview room.

The suspect, Frederick Davidson, 36, was arrested Thursday right after the shootings. Homicide Lt. Jim Collins said Friday that Davidson hid the weapon in a first-aid box in the San Diego State University classroom where he was scheduled to defend his master's thesis in engineering.

Shortly after the meeting began, Davidson calmly took the pistol out and began shooting, Collins said.

The lieutenant said at a news conference Friday that Davidson was "upset about his thesis. It had been turned down previously, and he thought the professors were out to get him."

But the makeup of the faculty panel suggested that there should have been relatively clear sailing for Davidson's thesis, titled "Characteristics of Torsional Shape Memory Alloy Actuators," said Subrata Bhattacharjee, a San Diego State engineering professor.

Collins said Davidson arrived at the campus shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday and some time shortly afterward went up to the room and hid a 9 mm semiautomatic and three ammunition magazines, each containing 15 rounds.

Shortly after 2 p.m., he walked into the room where three professors were waiting to talk to him, the lieutenant said. The three professors were: Chen Liang, 32, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Preston Lowery, 44, an associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Constantinos Lyrintzis, 36, an associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics.

Davidson immediately crossed to the first-aid box and produced the gun, Collins said. He said Davidson first shot Liang, who was still sitting. …

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