Delta State shooting suspect ends manhunt by killing himself

Delta State shooting suspect ends manhunt by killing himself
(Source: Bolivar Commercial)
(Source: Bolivar Commercial)
(Source: WLBT chopper)
(Source: WLBT chopper)
Ethan Schmidt (Source: Delta State University)
Ethan Schmidt (Source: Delta State University)
Shannon Lamb (Source: Delta State University)
Shannon Lamb (Source: Delta State University)
Amy Prentiss (Source: Facebook)
Amy Prentiss (Source: Facebook)

BOLIVAR CO, MS (WMC) - Delta State University shooting suspect Shannon Lamb died from what investigators believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Greenville police said they saw Lamb's black Dodge Avenger and started chasing him. He eventually stopped and ran into the woods. While officers waited on backup to arrive, they heard one gunshot and found Lamb dead from a shot to the head.

Monday, investigators named Lamb, 45, as a suspect in two shooting deaths.

Lamb is a suspect in the murder of 41-year-old Amy Prentiss in Gautier, Mississippi. That's more than 300 miles away from Delta State University. Investigators said Prentiss and Lamb lived together and were romantically involved.

Investigators believe Lamb killed Prentiss and then drove north to Delta State and killed Ethan Schmidt, a fellow professor at the university. Investigators said Prentiss and Schmidt did not know each other.

According to the Associated Press, two officers said they spoke with Lamb on Monday evening. They said he told them he would not be going to jail. However, police later said they never made contact with Lamb.

Bolivar's County's Deputy Coroner Murray Roark confirms Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt was shot and killed inside his office on campus Monday morning.

According to the university, Schmidt taught American History.

"Probably the best teacher I've ever had in my life," student Dean Arnold said. "Having a shooting at school, it's just shocking. It's one of the scariest things I've been through."

Schmidt had roots in Kansas, where his aunt Barbara Schmidt lives. She said he leaves behind a wife and three children.

"You can tell they're Ethan's kids," Barbara said. "They all look just like him. His little daughter-- it's going to be so hard on her."

Schmidt previously worked at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His students there describe him as a passionate, caring man.

After Lamb killed himself, Delta State University leaders took the campus off lock-down.

"The crisis is over," Delta State University President William La Forge said. "This campus is safe again, and our lock-down has been dismissed."

Delta State canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday. The school said there will be counselors on campus all day Tuesday for group and individual sessions. A candlelight vigil will be held on the quad at 7 p.m. Tuesday night for students, faculty and friends to pay their respects to Professor Schmidt.

Before the school lifted the lock-down, DSU leaders went building to building bringing food and water in an effort to make people more comfortable.

"We're asking that everyone stay inside just for safety purposes," hall director and student Tiffany Davis said. "We can't force them not to leave."

Students walking outside said they were headed home as soon as possible.

"As soon as we get in our dorms, we're going to be in there," student Gunter McCourt said. "We were told not to leave, so that's what we're going to do."

Monday, law enforcement agents set up a command center on campus as they worked to make sure everyone was safe.

The Mississippi governor's office and the state's Institution of Higher Learning offered their assistance. The Bolivar County Sheriff's Department, Cleveland Police Department and Mississippi Highway Patrol worked together to take custody of the shooter.

A former student, now working as a reporter, rushed toward the action Monday morning. Courtney Warren said it was terrifying to see her former school covered with police.

"To see our president and our cabinet not stand on the sidelines but to go into buildings where the shooter might be with no protection, it was amazing to see how much everyone loves this university."

Delta State University turns 90 years old this year and has a student body of more than 4,000, according to its website.

Who is Shannon Lamb

According to a faculty profile on Delta State's website, Lamb is a geographer and coordinator of social sciences education. He holds a bachelor's degree of science, master of education, and doctorate of education from the university.

Lamb joined the university faculty in 2009 and taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses related to geography and education. The profile lists one of his specialties as the geography of crime.

Prior to working for DSU, Lamb previously taught geography at Mississippi Valley State University. He was also a math teacher at Riverside High School in Avon, Mississippi; Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi; and Greenville-Weston High School in Greenville, Mississippi. Lamb was slated to work at Itawamba Community College in 2009, but was offered a full-time position at Delta State and did not teach for ICC.

Lamb's Facebook page lists his hometown and current residence as Munich, Germany. His last post was from July 14 announcing he had finished his doctorate.

Monday afternoon, Lamb's friends and family took to his Facebook page to urge him to turn himself in peacefully.

Longtime friend Eddie Dixon was in shock.

"I couldn't even imagine what would be going through his head to cause something like this," Dixon said over the phone. "Whatever it was, it had to be very drastic."

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.