Naoko Takemaru, Patricia Navarro-Velez, and Cha-Jan “Jerry” Chang were killed when a gunman opened fire at the university in Las Vegas on Wednesday
Patricia Navarro-Velez, 39, an assistant professor of accounting originally from Puerto Rico, “was a pioneer who worked her way through three universities into a challenging job at one of the largest public accounting firms in the world,” said Jason Smith, professor and chair of the accounting department.
Navarro-Velez joined the department at UNLV in 2019. Her research zeroed in on cybersecurity disclosures and assurance, internal control weakness disclosure, and data analytics, the school said.
“Pat immediately made a positive impact in the lives of students and her colleagues,” Smith said Friday. “She had a larger-than-life personality, an infectious smile, and a genuine kindness that made everyone around her feel like family.”
All three were in Beam Hall when they were killed, UNLV Director of Police Services Adam Garcia said. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the shooting.
University President Keith Whitfield said Friday that the shooting Wednesday was the university’s darkest day, and life-changing for everyone involved.
“It’s going to be awhile before we get to whatever we can consider normal. But you know something, that’s OK,” Whitfield said.
“It’s OK in part because we are a community. We’re a community at this university, we’re a community within this incredible city, and this incredible state,” he said. “And I think we’re here for each other, to take care of each other. And with that we’re going to be able to move forward.”