By: Nadia Liu
A shooter injured five people during a homecoming week celebration at Morgan State University in Baltimore on Oct. 3. The shooting prompted an hours-long lockdown and the cancellation or postponement of all homecoming week events for the first time in the school’s history.
Police officers on patrol during the incident heard gunshots at around 9:25 PM as students headed to a campus ball after the coronation of Mister and Miss Morgan State at the Murphy Fine Arts Center. After hearing gunshots and the shattering of several dorm windows, officers followed appropriate active shooter protocols and established a shelter-in-place order, ending the order around 12:30 AM. Police Commissioner Richard Worley declared that the shooting appeared to have followed a dispute involving several armed people, and the five victims were unintended targets. Glenmore Blackwood, a parent of a Morgan State student, told NPR, “It’s just sad. They were doing a good thing — an event to promote positivity — and all this negativity happens.” Morgan State University President David Wilson canceled classes the next day and announced, “It is unfortunate that this tragedy happened here tonight. By no means will it define who we are as a university.”
Commissioner Worley told reporters at a news conference on Oct. 4 that the five victims, four men and one woman, are between the ages of 18 and 22 and that their injuries are not life-threatening. Four of the five victims are students at the university.
On Oct. 13, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) announced in a news release that detectives arrested a 17-year-old male in connection with the shooting. Police took him into custody without incident on Oct. 12, and the suspect faces charges of multiple counts of attempted murder. The BPD also issued an arrest warrant for 18-year-old Jovan Williams, whom police say remains at large and should be considered armed and dangerous. Police identified the shooters from surveillance footage of the event. In the news release, Commissioner Richard Worley stated, “We will not rest until Williams is in custody. While this arrest cannot undo the damage and trauma caused that day, it is my hope that it can bring some peace and justice to the victims, the Morgan community and our city.”
The Oct. 3 shooting marks the third time in consecutive years that a shooting has disrupted Morgan State’s homecoming week, following a shooting last October at an unsanctioned homecoming party and another shooting at the end of homecoming week two years ago. Bill Ferguson, a Democratic state legislator for Baltimore, took to social media to express his grief about the event: “The repetition of these horrific events is about one thing: easy access to guns. I cannot even fathom the feelings of parents who are fearing the safety of their children at Morgan tonight.”
(Sources: AP News, CNN, NPR, NY Times)