Gang Lu shootings remembered 20 years later - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gang Lu shootings remembered 20 years later


November 1st, 1991 is a day Mary Allen remembers all too well.

Allen was working on the fifth floor of Van Allen Hall on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City when her attention was drawn to noise from below.

"I heard a pop, pop, pop, and my first thought was I wonder if that could be a gun," Allen said.

Paul Ingram was working at Prairie Lights, a book store just a block away from Van Allen, when he heard the news from a frantic customer.

"It took a minute to figure out that he was really talking about people who had been killed very very close to here," Ingram said.

For Allen and Ingram, the news only worsened as they continued to learn more.

Graduate student Gang Lu had shot and killed four faculty members and one student that day in Van Allen and Jesup Halls.

Another was seriously wounded.

Eventually Lu took his own life.

"It was awful because as the names came out, it turned out to be people we knew," Ingram said. 

One of the people killed was Allen's boss, Professor Chris Goertz.

"It took me a pretty long time to absorb the news and information of it," Allen said. 

Lu is believed to have snapped after his dissertation failed to win a prestigious award that may have helped him start his professional career.

Allen says it's sad Lu's false beliefs may have led to the killings.

"He had constructed a picture of the situation where he was a victim of these people that were treating him horribly, and passed him by; but actually, the truth is they were trying to help him," Allen said.  "They had recommended him for jobs.  He was also nominated for the award that was the bone of contention in the end.  He murdered his friends."

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