Lebanon professor, Raja Fayad, killed in US university shooting

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Lebanon professor, Raja Fayad,  killed in US university shooting
The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015

BEIRUT: A professor believed to be from Lebanon was shot dead Thursday at the University of South Carolina in an apparent murder-suicide, local media and the coroner’s office said.

The State newspaper identified the victim as 45-year-old Raja Fayad, a graduate director, head of the division of applied physiology and an expert in colon cancer at the urban campus’ Arnold School of Public Health.

The State quoted witnesses as saying the shootings occurred on the fourth floor of the five-story campus building along busy Assembly Street.

Fayad was one of two who died in what police dubbed a murder-suicide at the Public Health Research Center on campus.

The Richland County Coroner’s office confirmed that Fayad had died of multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.

It did not identify the suspected killer, but said the two had a “history together.”

The State said authorities late-Thursday afternoon were at a home Fayad owned in a Lexington County subdivision near Lake Murray. Neighbors said he was Lebanese and moved into the neighborhood in 2009.

The report said he traveled to Lebanon each summer to visit his mother.

It also said Fayad received his medical degree from Aleppo University School of Medicine in Syria.

“Today, the USC family experienced a great tragedy,” president Harris Pastides said in a statement, acknowledging a murder-suicide.

Residents in the neighborhood where Fayad lived came home from work Thursday to discover a half-dozen unmarked police SUVs and cars parked at the professor’s home, according to the report.

It quoted Fathi Elsahli, a next door neighbor of Libyan descent, as saying he and Fayad got together occasionally over tea to chat in Arabic about “typical things neighbors talk about” as well as campus life at USC.

Elsahli said he and Fayad recently spoke about a stormy relationship with a woman Fayad lived with and described as his girlfriend. The problems worsened a few weeks ago after Fayad said he moved out to be with another woman, Elsahli, a part-time USC computer science teacher, said.