UPDATE: Morgan State Won’t Build Wall Around Campus
A 17-year-old was arrested and charged in the shooting and authorities are still searching for a second suspect.
UPDATE – Oct. 23, 2023:
A Morgan State University spokesperson said original reports that the school planned to build a wall around its campus following an Oct. 3 shooting were inaccurate.
“I can say unequivocally, Morgan State University is not trying to build a wall,” Larry Jones told 11 News. “The problem is the usage of the [word] wall. We didn’t know it was so highly charged, such a political terminology, how people imaged the wall.”
During an Oct. 10 campus town hall meeting, university President David Wilson said the school would extend existing barriers by about 8,000 feet to enclose 90% of campus and “eliminate unfettered access.” Jones clarified the campus is looking to extend fencing – not a wall.
“About 60% of the campus has this exterior fencing already in place. What the president was trying to convey is that we want to continue placing that fencing around the university,” he said. “We don’t confess to know everything about security. This is an ongoing process.”
Nine days after the shooting, which injured five people, a 17-year-old was arrested in Washington, D.C., according to a press release from Baltimore Police. The juvenile was taken into custody without incident.
The U.S. Marshals Service is currently searching for a second suspect, identified as 18-year-old Javon Williams. They have both been charged with attempted first-degree murder. The law enforcement agency is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to Williams’ arrest. Metro Crime Stoppers and ATF are also offering a reward of up to $9,000 for tips leading to an arrest and charges filed. Anyone with information is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals at 1-877-WANTED2 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP.
UPDATE – Oct. 11, 2023:
One week after five people were shot during homecoming festivities, Morgan State University officials announced new safety protocols to improve campus security, including building a wall around most of the Baltimore campus.
The wall would extend existing barriers by about 8,000 feet to enclose 90% of campus and “eliminate unfettered access,” university President David Wilson said during a campus town hall Tuesday night. The estimated cost is $6.4 million, CBS News reports. Wilson also announced the school would station security personnel at all entrances and exits.
“We’re doing this, let me be clear, not to keep out our neighbors and our community writ large; we are doing it to keep out the bad actors,” he said.
Investigators said the Oct. 3 shooting happened following a dispute between two groups. They do not believe the victims, which include four Morgan State students, were the intended targets. All victims were released from the hospital last week but police are still searching for the suspects.
University officials said significant security upgrades were underway before the shooting but that they are now moving forward with more urgency. Other potential improvements include installing more metal detectors in campus buildings, looking into weapons detection technology, increasing police patrols, and building additional security guard booths. Wilson said the anticipated total cost is over $22 million, and the plan will be submitted to Maryland Governor Wes Moore and the state’s congressional delegation.
While several projects are underway or are waiting for approval, others are being implemented immediately. On Wednesday morning, Wilson said crews will install a manned security booth outside of Thurgood Marshall Dining Hall that will be present for a “substantial amount of time.”
Also on Tuesday, Baltimore Police released images of two men sought in connection with the shooting. The images were captured by campus video surveillance cameras. Investigators previously released a video they say contains four persons of interest.
Metro Crime Stoppers and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are offering a reward of up to $9,000 for a tip leading to an arrest and charges filed. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call 1-866-7-LOCKUP. Tips can remain anonymous.
UPDATE – Oct. 10, 2023:
A $9,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in connection with the Morgan State shooting, WBAL reports. Police said investigators believe a dispute between two groups led to the gunfire that missed the intended target.
Investigators released a video they say contains four persons of interest. Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE – Oct. 4, 2023:
BALTIMORE — Morgan State University issued a shelter-in-place order Tuesday night after five people, including four students, were shot outside a crowded homecoming event.
Gunfire erupted near Thurgood Marshall Hall as the coronation of Mr. and Miss Morgan State event was letting out at the Murphy Fine Arts Center and students were heading to a campus ball, NPR reports. Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said police originally followed active shooter protocols after gunshots shattered several dormitory windows.
“We were outside of our coronation, basically they let out and everybody was leaving, and then we see two gunshots hit the front window and everyone just started running,” a student identified as only David told WBAL. “It was chaos.”
The victims — four men and one woman, ages 18 to 22 — were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Morgan State Police Chief Lance Hatcher confirmed four of the victims are Morgan State students.
Hatcher said campus police received a call for the shooting around 9:27 p.m. and the first public safety alert was sent to the community at 9:30 p.m. A shelter-in-place order was issued shortly after.
At 11:55 p.m., Baltimore police said the incident was no longer considered an active shooter situation. Morgan State lifted its shelter-in-place order a half hour later after police and federal authorities went room to room to clear buildings.
Police said they could not confirm if there was one or multiple shooters. As of Wednesday morning, no suspects had been identified.
Morgan State canceled classes Wednesday and said counselors would be available for students. President David Wilson said the school would “be assessing what will happen for the rest of the Homecoming week” at an emergency meeting Wednesday morning.
Tuesday’s shooting marks the third year in a row that a shooting occurred during the school’s Homecoming week. In 2022, a 20-year-old man was shot during an unsanctioned Homecoming party. The person was not a Morgan State student.
In 2021, an 18-year-old Morgan State student was shot in the chest as the Homecoming football game was ending. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and survived.
“The repetition of these horrific events is about 1 thing: easy access to guns. This doesn’t happen at our rate in places where guns aren’t immediately available,” Maryland state Senator Bill Ferguson wrote on social media following Tuesday’s shooting. “Should we focus on mental health issues and the like, of course. But we as a society have a choice: more guns or less.”
Anyone with information about Tuesday’s shooting is asked to call police at 410-396-2444. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line at 866-7LOCKUP.
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