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NFR opening round off Thursday due to UNLV mass shooting

Chase Brooks NFR
Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 07, 2023

LAS VEGAS — Thursday night's opening round of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo has been halted due to the mass shooting that took place on UNLV's college campus Wednesday, according to a joint media release from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Las Vegas Events (LVE) Board of Trustees.

The release said "additional details would be announced" Thursday morning. Among options for the PRCA and LVE are logistics on whether to cancel the go-round, include it on another date, or perhaps extend the NFR through Sunday, Dec. 17 to complete all 10 scheduled rounds.

The 10-night 'Super Bowl of Rodeo' unfolds each December before sellout crowds inside UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center with the world's top cowboys and cowgirls competing for world championships and this year's purse of over $11 million.

The gunman who killed three people and wounded a fourth has been identified as a career college professor who had applied for — but failed to be accepted for — a job at UNLV, according to reports.

Law enforcement sources told CBS News that the suspect is 67-year-old Anthony Polito and said he may have also had a connection to a person who works on campus, CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS reported.

The first call about the active shooter arrived at about 11:45 a.m. local time Wednesday when gunfire sounded from Beam Hall where the college’s Lee Business School is located.

"All of us are saddened by the events that occurred," said LVE President Tim Keener in Wednesday's release. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected. We are grateful to all of the first responders, police, security and the UNLV community for their actions today."

The three victims killed have not been named while a fourth was hospitalized and is now in stable condition.

"Today's shooting on the UNLV campus was alarming and deeply troubling," said PRCA CEO Tom Glause on Wednesday. "The PRCA is grateful for the rapid, professional response from law enforcement and first responders. Our thoughts right now are focused on the victims of this senseless act of violence."

The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center will continue as planned Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 16, according to the PRCA and is open to the public.