The sociology professor of the College of Southern Nevada, Mark J. Bird, faced charges last month of discharging a firearm, within a forbidden structure, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, according to court records. He was found bleeding after he shot himself in the arm at about 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 28 outside a bathroom in the Charleston campus K building.
A $100 bill taped to a mirror was found inside the bathroom by the police with a note that read, “For the janitor,” according to Bird’s arrest report. On the floor of the restroom was found a black-and-white, .22-caliber pistol and one spent shell casing.
The sociology professor was hired Aug. 26, 1993, and was an emeritus faculty member at the time of the shooting, as college spokesman Richard Lake reported.
Bird was not scheduled to teach any courses during the fall 2018 semester but was employed with the college as of Tuesday, but Lake stated that it still hasn’t been clarified whether any disciplinary actions would be taken against him.
Several CSN employees and at least one student called 911 immediately after they saw Bird stumble out of the bathroom, bleeding, before he collapsed, according to the report. All of the witnesses — who later told police they only remembered hearing “a loud noise” — didn’t know that Bird was armed and had shot himself, according to the report.
One college employee informed police that he held Bird’s hand to calm him down while others tried to stop the bleeding. Police noted in the report that while waiting for the authorities to arrive, Bird claimed that she shot himself in the arm in order to protest against President Donald Trump. However, the report did not elaborate.
About 9 a.m. on the day of the shooting a campus-wide alert was sent considering the scene safe and alerting students that the firearm had been recovered. With an exception for a short mention in the lengthy September edition of “The Chronicle,” the college president’s monthly newsletter emailed to staff, the college did not provide any more details about the shooting.
The short update can be found at the bottom of the newsletter and did not name Bird as the suspect. Federico Zaragoza, who in August was named the college’s ninth president, wrote at the end of his newsletter, “I appreciate all of the expressions of concern and interest, and I pledge to keep everyone updated should the situation change.”
On Tuesday, Robert Manis, president of the college’s faculty union, Nevada Faculty Alliance, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that there were rumors spread about the shooting in the last two weeks. He said he is worried about the way the college dealt with the shooting and about its lack of transparency afterward.
“They never really told the students much about it except that it was resolved on the actual day of the shooting,” he said. “When you don’t give the full details, then rumors go crazy. It’s unfortunate because it made the students and faculty very afraid and allowed rumors to proliferate.”
Lake didn’t leave any comment further Tuesday, but he added that college officials had a meeting with faculty and staff immediately after the shooting took place in order to provide support and to take suggestions.
Bird’s preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 17 in Las Vegas Court.