Five people were wounded in a shooting incident that disrupted a homecoming week celebration at Morgan State University in Baltimore on Tuesday, leading to an extended lockdown of the historically Black college.
Morgan State Police Chief Lance Hatcher confirmed that four of the victims were students at the university. The injured, comprising four males and one female, ranged in age from 18 to 22, with their injuries reported as non-life-threatening, according to Police Commissioner Richard Worley during a news conference early Wednesday.
No arrests have been made, and authorities have not released information about potential suspects. Worley mentioned that investigators were unsure about the number of individuals involved in the shooting.
The shooting occurred shortly after the coronation of Mister & Miss Morgan State at the Murphy Fine Arts Center, as students were making their way to a campus ball.
Konnor Crowder, a sophomore from Baltimore, described witnessing people running across the campus as they awaited the start of the coronation ball.
“First I was wondering what they were running for, then I was wondering where we should go,” he said.
Worley explained that the police responded to gunshots and observed several dormitory windows shattered, initially leading them to believe there was an active shooter on campus. The shelter-in-place order was lifted around 12:30 a.m. after SWAT officers cleared a building where a suspect may have sought refuge.
Shortly past midnight, numerous students dressed in gowns and suits began leaving the arts center, where they had been taking shelter. Many were trying to come to terms with the chaos and fear that disrupted an evening of festivities.
Students were in lockdown for approximately four hours while police conducted room-by-room searches for suspects.
Evidence markers in orange were visible on the ground near a building adjacent to the dormitory where the shooting took place. Yellow crime tape cordoned off the area, with officers using flashlights to search for evidence.
Parents gathered at a media staging area outside a police blockade at the south entrance to the campus. James Willoughby, an alum of Morgan State whose daughter is a freshman, expressed his determination not to leave until he could see his daughter. “I’m gonna be here until I can physically see her,” he said.
Glenmore Blackwood arrived on campus after being informed by his son, a senior, that the shooting had occurred just as the coronation was concluding. Blackwood’s son was in lockdown in the arts center’s auditorium, where he had sung during the ceremony and planned to host a prayer service afterward.
“That’s my son. He’s going to make sure I know he’s OK,” Blackwood said. “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 announced the cancellation of Wednesday’s classes and scheduled an emergency meeting Wednesday morning to determine whether other events planned for the run-up to the school’s homecoming game would proceed as scheduled on Saturday.
“It is unfortunate that this tragedy happened here tonight,” he said. “By no means will it define who we are as a university.”
Morgan State University, with an enrollment of around 9,000 students, was founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute with a mission to train men for ministry. It relocated to its present site in northeast Baltimore in 1917 and was purchased by the state of Maryland in 1939 to provide increased opportunities for Black citizens.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott pointed out recent declines in the city’s homicide rate and emphasized the need for national gun reform in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting.
“We have to deal with this issue nationally,” he said. “We have to get serious about guns.”