Shots were fired in the heart of the campus Sunday night near a male dormitory and behind the campus police station.
One man fell to the sidewalk along a narrow alley between the dormitory and a fine arts center and died. Police said the two others rushed into the dorm, where paramedics later found them.
University police spokeswoman Lt. Rhonda Swindle had no explanation for the shooting, though she said police questioned one "person of interest" into the early morning hours. She said detectives believed four people were involved in the attack, though no arrest or search warrants had been issued in the case.
"We have really good leads were following up on right now, and we feel the campus is safe," Swindle said.
Swindle declined to identify the victims, saying officers were trying to reach their families.
Interim university president Tom Courtway canceled classes Monday at the university, which has 12,500 students. He said every precaution was being taken to ensure the safety of the students who remained in their dormitory rooms.
"It doesn’t matter where this happens in the country – it’s awful," Courtway said.
Police used crime scene tape to keep people out of a large area around where the shootings occurred. Firefighters foam sprayed over the alleyway to clean away traces of the attack congealed with the blood, turning to an orange froth.
Student Aprille Hanson, 20, of Mountain Home said the shooting was "definitely an eye-opener" in the quiet city of Conway, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Little Rock.
"This campus is very safe. I’ve never felt afraid on this campus," Hanson said. "Everyone’s going to be a little more tense."
The campus was under guard Monday morning, with police cruisers circling its quiet streets and officers roaming the grounds in flak jackets and blue jeans.
Sunday’s shooting is the second at an
Courtway said he thought police officers and the university’s emergency alert system performed well in the minutes after the shooting. However, he promised to conduct a thorough examination of shooting to ensure students safety in the future.
"This is just an awful tragedy. It’s the worst thing that can happen on a college campus," Courtway said. "We have to start looking at everything."