UArizona President Praises Policework in Shooting Investigation, Gives Update on Campus COVID-19 Status

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University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins thanked police on Monday for their work apprehending three suspects in the on-campus shooting death of UArizona sophomore Forrest Beckett Keys.

The University of Arizona Police Department and Tucson Police Department have arrested three 17-year-old male suspects in the shooting, which took place the night of Feb. 20 near the Cherry Avenue Garage.

The teenagers, who were in a 2008 Cadillac when the shooting occurred, are each charged on suspicion of first-degree murder and drive-by shooting. Keys, 20, was on foot when he was killed.

"The investigation is ongoing, and I know (UAPD) Chief (Brian) Seastone and his officers, as well as their partners at the Tucson Police Department, remain committed to a thorough investigation," Robbins said Monday during his weekly campus briefing, delivered virtually.

Keys was studying communication at the university and was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. On Saturday, several UArizona students and employees joined a virtual memorial for Keys, organized by his family.

"It was truly an incredibly moving remembrance and demonstrated the immense love that Forrest's family and his friends have for him," Robbins said.

The university continues to be in touch with the Keys family, and the family is working with Zeta Beta Tau on an in-person on-campus vigil, Robbins said. In addition, the University of Arizona Foundation has established a memorial scholarship in Keys' name, which will be coordinated with the family.

"On Friday, I shared my belief with the Wildcat family that Forrest is still a part of our community," Robbins said. "We hope the light he brought to so many people, which was so clear in the family's memorial, continues through our remembering him."

Update on Campus COVID-19 Status

In Monday's briefing, Robbins also provided an update on the university's COVID-19 status. The university remains in Stage 2 of its re-entry plan, which allows classes of fewer than 50 students to meet in person. Robbins said he anticipates staying in that stage next week.

Positivity rates from COVID-19 testing on campus remain low. Between Feb. 22 and 26, 10,727 tests were administered and 19 came back positive – a positivity rate of 0.18%. Testing numbers are regularly updated on the university's COVID-19 website.

The university's COVID-19 vaccine POD, or point of distribution, has to date administered more than 35,000 shots, Robbins said. The university POD, which will receive an additional 16,380 vaccine doses this week, is now operating seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Those eligible for vaccination in the state's Priority Phase 1B can schedule an appointment at the state-run UArizona POD by going to the Arizona Department of Health Services website or calling 602-542-1000. Appointments through next week are full, but registration is expected to open soon for additional appointments that will be available starting March 7. Appointments open as vaccine becomes available.

Robbins said about 16.9% of the population in Pima County has received at least one dose of vaccine. Pima County this week is scheduled to receive 24,000 doses of vaccine. That, combined with the university's allocation of 16,380, brings the total number of doses to 40,380 – the highest level of vaccine allocation to the Tucson area to date, Robbins said.

Vaccine allocation is determined by the state, based on population, and the university participates in daily calls with the state and county to coordinate vaccine distribution and ensure that they are being distributed equitably.

"Remember, whether you're vaccinated or not, please continue to mask up, wash your hands and stay physically distant as much as possible," Robbins said. "Together with vaccinations, these measures will help us end this pandemic."