Iowa City, IA


Disgruntled after not receiving the D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize for his doctoral dissertation, Study of the "Critical Ionization Velocity" Effect by Particle-in-Cell Simulation, which recognizes excellence in doctoral research, Gang Lu, a twenty-eight-year old former University of Iowa graduate student shot and killed four university faculty and one student. He left another student critically injured before turning the gun on himself.

Reports suggested the shooting resulted from a long time resentment between Lu and fellow Chinese graduate student and friend Linhua Shan. Still upset over Shan’s nomination, Lu shot and killed him as well as his dissertation committee, which included his chair, Christoph Goertz; and associate professor of physics and astronomy, also on Lu’s dissertation committee, Robert A. Smith, while they were holding a regular research group meeting. In under two minutes, after killing Shan, Goertz, and Smith, Lu proceeded downstairs and murdered department chair Dwight R. Nicholson, the man that nominated Shan’s dissertation for the Spriestersbach prize.

After killing Nicholson, Lu moved to Jessup Hall, to the office of academic affairs, where he shot university vice president of academic affairs, T. Anne Cleary and Miya Rodolfo-Sioson, a part-time student employee with no connection to Lu. Cleary died the next day of a gunshot wound to the head. Rodolfo-Sioson, the only survivor of the shooting, was left paralyzed from the neck down, and in 2008, died of breast cancer. 

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