Indian-American professor Gopi K Podila, chairman of the department of Biological Sciences and two other faculty members, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, were shot dead at the University of Alabama's Huntsville campus on Friday. Three others were also injured in the incident.
Police said another female member of the faculty shot and killed her three co-workers. Local media identified the suspect as Dr Amy Bishop. She was arrested soon after the incident. Her husband was also taken into custody, reports stated.
Reports also said that Bishop, during a Biology faculty meeting, learned she would not receive tenure. She then pulled out a gun and started shooting.
University spokesman Ray Garner said one of the injured is in critical condition at Huntsville Hospital, while the other two are in stable condition.
The incident occurred around 4 pm on Friday. University confirmed that no student was involved. The Huntsville campus has about 7,500 students in northern Alabama. Soon after the incident, the web site of the university was also disabled.
"Everybody's thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. The board will stay informed on what has happened and will do what it can to support the University," said University of Alabama board of trustees president Finis St John IV.
"This is a horrible tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. If there is any assistance state agencies can provide to local authorities, it will be provided," Governor Bob Riley said.
Podila's research interest included functional genomics of plant-microbe interactions (mycorrhizal and pathogenic interactions, global gene expression profiling, gene modeling and bioinformatics) and plant molecular biology and biotechnology (functional genomics of developmental control of reproductive tissues and vascular tissues (wood formation) using aspen as a model system. )