Pima County Attorney speaks on why accused UA shooter wasn’t charged for crime of threats and intimidation

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There’s new developments in the University of Arizona campus shooting, where former graduate student Murad Dervish is accused of shooting and killing Dr. Thomas Meixner.

In a statement, University President Robert Robbins said the University Police Department tried to get Dervish charged two separate times before the shooting earlier this month. They took the complaints to the Pima County Attorney’s Office, but both times there wasn’t enough evidence.

UAPD and President Robbins both declined interviews with us and referred us back to the President’s statement. But Pima County Attorney Laura Conover did speak with us and she explained why there wasn’t enough to move forward with these complaints against Dervish.

“This case didn’t rise to that level. We were never brought to the table. We received some paperwork in the mail in a packet and there was no way of knowing of course whether that’s complete or not,” said Conover. “We were told it was complete, that we had everything we needed and it didn’t rise to the level.”

Conover said what was sent to her office about Murad Dervish from the university was “minimal.” There was not enough evidence to charge Dervish with the crime of threats and intimidation.

″Threats and intimidation in Arizona under the Arizona law requires specificity, immediacy, and a manner in which to carry out the threat,” she explained.

She said there’s nothing that would’ve worked to charge Dervish with the information they had. But she believes Red Flag Laws could’ve made a difference. If a Red Flag bill would’ve passed in Arizona, Dervish’s gun could’ve been taken away if he was a known threat to himself or others.

She said, ″When you have a case like this, that has every red flag going off in the books, we don’t have the tools that we need in Arizona. Until we have that, we lack the tools in Arizona that we need and I fear these incidents will just keep happening.”

KOLD News 13 also put a request in for the complaints about Dervish that were taken to the County Attorney’s Office. That request is still being processed, but we will continue to keep you updated on air and online.