One month ago Monday Dan Markel dropped off his two young boys at preschool for the last time.
The Harvard-educated Florida State University College of Law professor walked into Creative Preschool on Tharpe Street, chatted with some teachers, said goodbye to his sons and left around 9:30 a.m., less than two hours before a neighbor heard a loud bang come from his Betton Hills home. Police were called about 11 a.m. and found Markel shot in the head.
"I don't know if somebody tried to shoot him or if he shot himself, or what, I don't know," the caller told emergency dispatchers.
"You need to send an ambulance in a hurry," he urged. "He's still alive, he's still moving."
He would die the next day with no suspect or person of interest named by the Tallahassee Police Department. Markel's friends and family still await a resolution to the ongoing investigation that has now stretched into its second month. Still, there are no named suspects or persons of interest.
"We have no updates at this time. The investigation is ongoing," said TPD spokesman Officer David Northway Monday.
Details from officials are unlikely until an arrest is made. The case has been designated open and active, meaning the entire police report, with the exception of the most basic information, can be kept from the public.
"We are actively investigating," Northway added. "We will not rest until we bring this case to a close."
TPD didn't confirm that Markel had died until several hours after FSU College of Law dean Don Weidner sent a memo July 19 announcing that Markel had died to students and faculty.
Betton Hills neighbors feared they could be in danger themselves until the next week, when investigators said Markel was the intended victim of the crime. For several days police came out with further details. A silver Prius was identified as a "vehicle of interest" in the case. TPD then released portions of the incident report, which revealed that a witness saw a Prius-like car driving away from the scene.
Police have not identified the exact role of the "vehicle of interest," only saying that investigators want to talk to whoever was inside. Still there is no information on potential motives. Rumors abound, but police are slow to affirm or dismiss them.
A redacted version of the 911 tape released in late July revealed that an error by the 911 call taker led to a delayed emergency response time in Markel's case. TPD officers arrived after 15 minutes, and Leon County Emergency Medical Services took 19 minutes. The 911 call taker did not interpret the caller's reference to a gunshot wound as an "actual condition," and thus prioritized the call, according to Tim Lee, executive director of the Consolidated Dispatch Agency. On Thursday, Lee said a possible glitch in the system may have further added to the delay. A full investigation into how the Markel call was handled is now under internal investigation by the CDA.
Markel, who ran his own blog for young legal academics, PrawfsBlawg, was remembered by friends and colleagues in several online blogs in the days following his death. Most praised Markel's academic prowess while vainly trying to make sense of his death. Those same blogs have become sources for the latest information about the investigation.
Markel's funeral was in Toronto last month and Congregation Shomrei Torah on Kerry Forest Parkway, his synagogue, held a memorial for him two days after the shooting.
The law school is still coming to grips with Markel's unexpected death. Markel's classes have been canceled. His seminar students this semester, which starts Monday, will take part in other seminars to continue their studies. His criminal procedure class this spring will be taught by a visiting professor.
"The initial shock and deep grief has given away to more feelings of sorrow and loss," said Manuel Utset, associate dean for academic affairs at the FSU College of Law.
"You can imagine when a tragedy like this hits, that things change," Utset said. "No one could have imagined a month ago that something like this could occur."
if you go
The law school will host a memorial event Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. in Roberts Hall, Room 101. A reception will follow in the Rotunda.