The victim, Mark Edward Waugh, was in his first year of law school.
“He was the best friend anyone could have,” said Amelia Henry, a close friend of Waugh’s. “He was going to change the world.”
On Monday, she asked friends to gather at her parents’ house in Virginia, posting an invitation on Facebook that underscored how those who knew both young men were stunned by the news.
“To all who need to sort through this insanity,” Henry wrote, “please know my house is open for people who need to pray, cry, or just talk about how lucky we were to have Mark in our lives.”
Both Waugh and Gupta attended Langley High School in McLean, Va., where they took several Advanced Placement and honors classes together. Waugh was in an after-school robotics club. Gupta played on the varsity tennis team.
Arrest records in the case, in which detectives provided their account to support a charge of second-degree murder, paint a picture of several friends going out Saturday to celebrate Gupta’s birthday. But things later appear to have turned to alcohol-fueled confusion and — at least based on the perception of one member of the party — a jealous rage.
The case began for police at 3:25 a.m. Sunday, when they were summoned for a report of unknown trouble inside an apartment in the high-rise in Silver Spring’s revitalized downtown. Officers arrived and heard movements and yelling inside. They knocked, didn’t get an answer, then went through the unlocked door, according to the charging document.
A woman with blood on her ran toward them.
“I don’t know what happened. Can you tell me?” she asked the officers, according to the charging document.
As the officers made their way into the apartment, they saw blood on the walls of the kitchen and living area and saw a man — later identified as Gupta — lying on the ground. He was covered in blood. The officers asked whether he was hurt.
“I don’t think so,” Gupta said, according to the detectives’ account.
“What’s going on?” one of the officers asked him.
“I walked in on my girlfriend cheating on me,” Gupta said, according to the charging papers. “My girl and my buddy were cheating. My girl was cheating with my buddy. I walked in on them cheating and I killed my buddy.”
It remains unclear, even to the police, whether what Gupta said he thought was going on between the two was true, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending.
The officers found another man lying on the floor. It was Waugh, and he was covered with blood and was unresponsive, according the police. He had “multiple cutting and defense-type injuries to his body” and was pronounced dead, according to court records. Police say a knife was used in the attack.