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Two students dead in University of Maryland murder-suicide
Question of the Day
A University of Maryland graduate student armed with a cache of weapons shot two of his roommates, killing one, then killed himself at their College Park home early Tuesday, Prince George’s County police said.
The murder-suicide took place around 1 a.m. at the home in the 8700 block of 36th Avenue, about a block from the University of Maryland campus.
Police on Tuesday afternoon identified the shooter as Dayvon Maurice Green, 23, a graduate student. Undergraduate student Stephen Alex Rane, 22, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Another 22-year-old undergraduate student, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital and was undergoing surgery Tuesday.
Although police discovered that at the time of the shooting Mr. Green was in possession of two guns — including the 9 mm handgun used in the shooting and a semi-automatic Uzi rifle — they do not believe the shooting was part of any wider plot. Officials noted that Mr. Green had been suffering from a mental illness.
“The family let our detectives know this suspect had this condition for at least a year and that in the past he had been prescribed medication for this mental illness,” police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.
Police did not disclose the nature of Mr. Green’s mental illness or say whether he was currently taking medication. Along with the two guns found in his possession, police said a bag was found next to Mr. Green’s body that contained multiple rounds of ammunition, a machete and a baseball bat. Police said Mr. Green bought both of the guns legally — with the Uzi purchased less than a month ago from a gun store in Silver Spring.
Tuesday’s incident began when police said Mr. Green set a series of small fires in and around the backyard of the home. One of the victims was awakened by the flames and alerted the other victim, police said.
The three men agreed to try to put out the fires, but when they went inside to get water one of the men saw Mr. Green pull a gun from his waistband. That man began to run and was struck by gunfire but made it to a neighbor’s house. The second man, Mr. Rane, was struck multiple times and collapsed outside the house.
Mr. Green then went to the backyard of the home where he fatally shot himself, police said.
On Tuesday afternoon, a throng of campus police, university officials, reporters and students gathered outside the home as county police released details of the incident. University President Wallace Loh there offered condolences to the families of the victims but demurred at further discussion concerning students with mental illness or violence on campus.
“Tomorrow may be the chance to talk about wider public policy,” Mr. Loh said.
Tragedy struck the same off-campus neighborhood two years ago when physics and astronomy major Justin DeSha-Overcash was gunned down during a robbery of his rented home, located just two blocks from the home at the center of Tuesday’s investigation.
The school more recently experienced concern over threats of violence on campus when a student — who was later hospitalized — posted messages online in March warning that he intended to go on a shooting spree. The student, Alexander Song, was never found to be in possession of any weapons but was treated through the Prince George’s County Mental Health Court and received probation after pleading guilty to disrupting school operations.
As police continue to investigate what led to Mr. Green’s violent outburst, university and county police said they had little prior contact with the young man, who graduated from Morgan State University and had worked as a research intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Two previous calls for county police service to the home were for a burglary and an unsubstantiated call, Ms. Parker said.
“There was no indication on the police department’s part that there was anything wrong,” she said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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