Professor sought in shooting deaths

By | April 26, 2009

The details of this unusual story are spread out in many small articles I’ve been reading:

Authorities are looking for 57-year-old George Zinkhan, who may be armed and dangerous according to Athens Police. Mr Zinkhan is a marketing professor the University of Georgia. Police do not know what triggered the shootings that left his ex-wife and two men dead. – rte

He was last seen driving a red 2005 Jeep Liberty. – ahn

Police are searching for University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan after three people were shot dead at a community theater near the university of Georgia

A coroner in Georgia said three people were killed at a community theater and police are searching for the suspect, a marketing professor at the University of Georgia at Athens. Sonny Wilson, Athens-Clarke County coroner, said the three were shot off campus about 12:30 p.m. yesterday. He did not immediately have further details. The school’s website said police are looking for George Zinkhan, who teaches at the school 70 miles east of Atlanta. (AP)

via Professor sought in shooting deaths – The Boston Globe.

George Zinkhan, a marketing specialist at the University of Georgia, is suspected of opening fire with more than one weapon outside the Town and Gown Players theatre, close to the university campus.

Three others were said to be injured. It was not immediately clear if the victims were university students who had been targeted or were struck in a random assault.

Zinkhan was described as a white male with a dark beard. He was last seen wearing a sports shirt and shorts. Police said he may have been carrying “multiple weapons”.

Police Major Mike Shockley said officers were called to the theatre after midday and found three dead. Three others were injured, “possibly by ricocheting bullets”.

RTÉ.ie News: One witness to the incident claimed that one of the gunman’s victims was a male named Tom Tanner. The gun-man allegedly shot him in the front and again in the back.

“At 22 you’re not supposed to watch people die,” said John Hardy, the father of a witness to the shootings.

Deploying measures that were introduced after the mass murders at Virginia Tech in 2007, university authorities immediately sent text alerts to 25,000 students, warning them that Zinkhan was suspected of the shootings.

“His track record is impeccable as far as his teaching credentials,” said university spokesman Pete Konenkamp.

“He’s a respected professor on campus.” Although America has become tragically used to shooting rampages by school and university students, local sources could think of no recent precedent for a rampage by a professor…. – timesonline

George Zinkhan has authored or contributed to more than 100 academic articles, and at one point tried his hand at verse. Casually dressed and behind the wheel of a pickup truck, the 57-year-old looked more like a laborer than a marketing professor who has taught at universities in Europe and the United States, according to a neighbor. As a part-time professor of VU University Amsterdam, he was honored as an outstanding faculty member. He edited the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science from 2003 to 2006, and also contributed to two books on commerce. He also wrote a poem that was posted to a page of the American Marketing Association Web site:

“the dark department head is always lurking, making the rounds with a crooked, yankee-trader smile, full of false promise about a better time to come.” – ajc

Photo Credit: ALEX BUSKO
An officer gathers evidence at the scene.

Zinkhan had his son and daughter with him when he went to an Athens community theater on Saturday afternoon. They remained in his car while Zinkhan had an argument with at least one of the group. His is reported to have left and then return to shoothis ex-wife, Marie Bruce, 47 as well as Tom Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63. Two other bystanders were also injuted. Each victim was reportedly shot multiple times. Zinkhan then returned to his home before dropping his children off with a neighbor. Zinkhan told the neighbor he would return shortly, but has not been seen since. – cvn

He is married with 2 children, a 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son.

George Zinkhan, 57, disappeared in his Jeep after dropping his children off with a neighbour, authorities said. … Killed were Zinkhan’s former wife Marie Bruce, 47, Tom Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, Holeman said. Two others were injured by flying shrapnel. Zinkhan had argued with at least one of the victims prior to the shooting, police said. After walking away, he returned with the guns and opened fire. – gulfnews

Tanner, 40, was a research analyst with the University’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, earning a PhD in economics from UGA in 2005. Teague’s wife Frances is a professor of English at UGA.  Tanner and Teague were set designers, and Tanner was going to be in the “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” play. [Marie] Bruce was president of the Town and Gown Board of Directors and an Athens attorney who was married to Zinkhan. – rab

Capt. Holeman raised the possibility that the shooting could be a crime of passion. “I can only speculate,” he said. “Some people are saying it could be a love triangle or something like that.” Mr. Zinkhan appeared to target Mr. Tanner, Mr. Teague and Ms. Bruce, said Rick Bedell, an actor with the Town and Gown Players, but he did not know why. “It was deliberate,” Mr. Bedell said. “He shot these three people specifically and walked out.” – augusta

Josh Gurley, one of Zinkhan’s students, told the Times the professor canceled class last week and told students the final exam was not necessary. – upi

SWAT team members, guns drawn, swarmed a tidy middle-class suburb about seven miles from the campus looking for the 57-year-old Zinkhan. But he wasn’t in his home or office and hadn’t used his credit or ATM cards. – kten

Ironic play title. Sounds like he may have had the killings planned for at least a week.

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