UNLV Prof Killed in Mass Shooting Has Burglars Hit Las Vegas Home

Posted on: January 2, 2024, 06:54h. 

Last updated on: January 3, 2024, 12:52h.

Burglars have added to the misery of those who loved and admired Naoko Takemaru, one of three professors murdered in the December 6 mass shooting at UNLV.

Naoko Takemaru
Naoko Takemaru, 69, was one of three professors killed in a mass shooting at UNLV on December 6. (Image: UNLV)

Three people burglarized Takemaru’s Las Vegas home on December 26, according to KLAS-TV/Las Vegas, which obtained a police report about the disheartening event on Tuesday.

The burglars apparently knew that no one would be home to stop them, since Takemaru, 69, had lived alone.

A neighbor of Takemaru’s tried stopping them, according to the report. She dialed 9-1-1 when she witnessed an unknown woman walking out of the vacant premises clutching several items. However, the woman’s face was covered, as were the faces of two men waiting in a getaway car.

According to the documents, Las Vegas police arrived to find the home ransacked, but didn’t know what was taken, though they had conducted a separate search of the home in the days following the mass murder. An officer noted in the report the presence of flowers left outside the home.

Police said they have since secured Takemaru’s former home, hopefully a little better than they did the last time they left it.

Gunman Anthony Polito, 67, was apparently angry that he couldn’t get hired at UNLV. (Image: abcnews.go.com)

Revenge Killing

The shooter, Tony Polito, killed Takemaru and two other professors, Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, of Henderson, and Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, of Las Vegas, with a legally purchased Taurus 9mm handgun and 11 loaded magazines.

The 67-year-old former adjunct professor, who never worked at UNLV, was killed in a shootout with police. Reportedly, he had applied for four UNLV positions in 2019, and got passed over each time.

Takemaru was an associate professor of Japanese Studies at the Las Vegas university. She also authored the book Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The Linguistic Roots of Bias (McFarland, 2010).

The UNLV Foundation has set up scholarships to honor all three victims.