Dan Markel, a prominent Jewish Florida law professor and author, was the “intended victim” in his shooting death inside his home, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported Tuesday.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DiLeo called the Friday killing a “murder” in a Monday press release. He said the killing was not “a random act” and was not connected with any burglary or robbery, easing the fears of neighbors who feared a home invader on the loose.
Investigators did not offer any possible motive for the crime or say if there were any suspects.
“TPD will work tirelessly to follow up on all leads and evidence in this case,” DeLeo said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Markel family as they endure this terrible tragedy. My investigators will do everything they can to see those responsible for this murder are brought to justice.”
His estranged wife, also a law professor, was said to be distraught at the news and cooperating with the investigation.
The Jewish Florida State University College of Law professor was at home when neighbors heard a loud bang Friday morning.
Paramedics rushed the popular 41-year-old professor and scholar to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I am deeply saddened to report that our colleague Dan Markel passed away,” wrote Donald Weidner, dean of the FSU College of Law, to faculty and staff, “As many of you are already aware, Dan was fatally injured in a shooting incident that took place yesterday and which is still under active investigation by local authorities.”
Markel, who grew up in Toronto, graduated from Harvard and later received his masters from the University of Cambridge before graduating from Harvard Law School in 2001.
He started teaching in Florida 2005, according to his website. Since then, his teaching has been in criminal law with focuses on a variety of other topics such as the death penalty and punitive damages.
He was a father of two and was in the process of getting divorced from his wife, Wendy Adelson, who is also a law professor at Florida State.