“I am so sorry for your pain”: Father of suspected University of Arizona gunman speaks out

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 9:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than one week after the deadly shooting that killed Hydrology professor Thomas Meixner, the family of the suspected gunman is ready to speak out.

46-year-old Murad Dervish is behind bars at the Pima County Jail. His father, Dolgun Dervish said during a one-on-one interview that his son had a lot of violent tendencies. He said even tried to warn the police about them hoping to prevent the worst from happening.

“The best place for Murad is where he is now, in prison. He should be there for his safety, and for everyone who around him and their safety,” he said from his South Carolina home.

He said he wasn’t surprised to learn his son had killed someone, but the news shocked him anyway.

“When I got the call my first impression was it finally happened. He killed somebody. It finally did happen. What a tragedy,” he said.

Dervish said his son was diagnosed with autism. As a young child, the younger Dervish didn’t have many friends growing up.

“He refused to be with any of his peers. Refused to join in any group or play, like soccer. He played ping pong and tennis with me only. He refused to play with anyone else,” he said.

He said as he got older, Murad became violent that’s when he went to live with his mother in San Diego.

“There, he tried to kill his mother. He put a scarf around her neck. So, he went to prison in San Diego,” he said.

He went on to say that his son even got violent with him and came at him with a crowbar.

“Maybe that would have been better if he had hit me with the crowbar and killed me. Then this young man’s life, completely innocent young man, this teacher, the professor, would have been saved,” he added.

Dolgun Dervish shared that his son tried to call him a week before the shooting, but he didn’t answer.

“I guess he was extremely frustrated because he was thrown out of his house. He was thrown out of college and evicted. He was extremely frustrated and he kept trying to call me and I did not take his calls,” he said.

According to the search warrant obtained by KOLD News 13, authorities also found three cell phones, anti-tracking technology, and several changes of clothes. They also found two handguns, several rounds of ammunition, five knives and two machetes in Dervish’s vehicle.

He said during the interview he’s been following the reports of what happened on the UA campus, and he has a message for Meixner’s family: “I am so sorry. I wish I could have in any way prevented this. I had no choice. I am so sorry for your pain. I share it every day.”

Murad Dervish is facing charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Meixner’s funeral is set for Friday, Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. The family said it is open to the public. They also have a GoFundMe set up for expenses.