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I wasn't sure how widely this should be publicized (the family has asked
that his condition not be released), but the news has been on other mailing
Mario is one of the best researcher the world on Basilar Membrane motion.
I know his work has had a big impact on my thinking. The work that all of
us do will be affected by his data (if not already, soon.) My best wishes
are with him.
NU PROFESSOR SERIOUSLY WOUNDED
POLICE HUNT FOR EX-AIDE WHO REPORTEDLY HAD GRUDGE
A world-renowned researcher at Northwestern University was shot and
seriously wounded in a university parking lot Thursday and a former
assistant known to have carried a longtime grudge against him is wanted in
connection with the incident, police said.
Professor Mario A. Ruggero, 51, an expert in the workings of the inner
ear, was in serious condition Thursday night at Evanston Hospital with
gunshot wounds in the wrist, pelvis and leg. Ruggero had joined
Northwestern's staff 15 months ago, after 18 years at the University of
His alleged assailant, John Arthur Costalupes, a Minnesota man who
worked for Ruggero during the mid-1980s, had accused the professor of
taking credit for his work, authorities said.
A warrant for attempted murder was issued by Northwestern University
Police Thursday afternoon for Costalupes, 45, said Northwestern spokesman
"They got along badly all the time. But Mario didn't steal anybody's
research," said W. Dixon Ward, former director of the Hearing Research
Laboratory at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Ward has known
Ruggero for 20 years.
Ward said Costalupes allegedly wrote threatening letters to department
Ruggero, a ground-breaker in the field of auditory physiology, had fired
Costalupes for reasons that are unclear, Ward said.
Authorities believe the grudge erupted in violence Thursday morning in a
parking lot on the northern edge of Northwestern's Evanston campus when
Costalupes allegedly pumped several shots into Ruggero as he walked near
several fraternities and dormitories on his way to work at the Frances
The gunshots got the attention of several students.
NU sophomore Tina Chadha said she was in her third-floor dormitory room,
which overlooks the parking lot, when she heard the gunfire.
"At first I thought it was a car backfiring, but I heard a man screaming
really loudly," she said.
When she looked out her window, she said, she saw Ruggero lying on the
ground, screaming for help as a car drove off.
"The car drove really close to him-I think he may have been trying to
run him over," she said.
Northwestern police arrived shortly after the assailant fled. Evanston
police were assisting with the case.
While many students said they were shocked by the shooting, they also
said the shooting wasn't an indication of a lack of security.
"Obviously, there was a motive for this shooting; it wasn't random,"
said sophomore Sean Lannan. "I don't think students walking on campus are
in any jeopardy."
University of Minnesota officals said Ruggero supervised post-doctoral
associates, including Costalupes, from 1985 until 1987. They would not say
when Costalupes worked with Ruggero or when he was fired. Currently,
Costalupes has no known University of Minnesota or Northwestern University
connections, officials said.
Costalupes was served a rent-eviction notice in September 1993,
according to the Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis. Authorities
there said he had no previous run-ins with the law.
"It was our understanding that it was just a work-related grievance,"
said an investigator from the University of Minnesota Police Department.
His former landlord described him as "a little strange." Costalupes was
evicted for not paying his last month's rent.
The research grant that Ruggero and others at the University of
Minnesota were working on was funded by the National Institutes of Health
and its purpose was to understand the causes and effects of various forms
of hearing loss, officials said.
Dr. Charles Speaks, chairman of the University of Minnesota's Department
of Communication Disorders, said of Ruggero, "I don't think world-class
would be overstating him."
Ruggero left the university in Minneapolis to join Northwestern
University's Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders in the
School of Speech in fall 1993.
He is one of a handful of investigators in the world examining the
submicroscopic vibrations of the basilar membrane of the inner ear,
"He is a kind, caring, brilliant man," said Northwestern professor Jeri
Logemann, chair of the Communications Sciences and Disorders department.
"We are very saddened by what happened."
PHOTO: Northwestern University professor Mario A. Ruggero, 51, an expert in
the workings of the inner ear, was listed in serious condition after
Suspect in NU professor's shooting kills himself
By Allie Shah and Patricia Callahan
Tribune Staff Writers
Copyright Chicago Tribune (c) 1995
A man believed to be the former researcher who shot and wounded a
Northwestern University professor killed himself Friday in Minneapolis,
University of Minnesota police said the man, tentatively identified as John
Arthur Costalupes, shot himself after being confronted by a plainclothes
officer while trying to barge into the office of the dean of the
university's medical school.
Police had not confirmed the man's identity Friday night because he was
carrying no identification and an autopsy had not been performed. But
employees familiar with Costalupes who were at the scene identified him,
said Joy Rikala, chief of the University of Minnesota police.
Costalupes, 45, allegedly attacked Northwestern professor Mario A. Ruggero
on Thursday morning in a parking lot on the Evanston campus.
Ruggero is a world-renowned researcher in the study of the inner ear.
Costalupes worked for Ruggero as a researcher from 1985 to 1987 at the
University of Minnesota, but he was fired after the two had a falling out,
according to researchers who knew the two men.
Their dispute was heard by an internal mediation panel at the University of
Minnesota, and details were never made public, said Mary Stanik, a
The university imposed a gag order during the mediation to prevent
colleagues from discussing the dispute. However, some researchers on the
Minnesota campus said privately the disagreement was
about the direction of research in Ruggero's laboratory at the university
and Costalupes' ability to follow instructions.
"Mario had grants and as part of the project he was doing, he brought John
in to work on that," said one researcher who did not want to be identified.
"Apparently, John did not want to work on that or refused."
Ruggero arrived at Northwestern in 1993.
Northwestern officials alleged that on Thursday, Costalupes shot Ruggero in
the leg, wrist and pelvis as the professor walked to his lab. Friday,
Evanston Hospital officials said Ruggero's family did not want information
about his condition released. He was reported in serious condition
University of Minnesota officials said Costalupes returned to the
Minneapolis-St. Paul area Thursday night. Friday afternoon, authorities
said, a man believed to be Costalupes entered the Mayo Building on campus
in the health sciences complex, apparently looking for the dean's office.
One officer was in the dean's office when the man arrived, said Paul
Tschida, university vice president for health and safety.
Tschida said that when the man was told the dean was busy, the man said,
"Well, I'm going to interrupt him."
The officer escorted the man out of the office while secretaries dialed
911, Tschida said.
When other officers confronted him in a hallway one floor below the dean's
office, Tschida said, the man put a gun to his chin and pulled the trigger.