Police say Green, 23, killed Rane and seriously injured another roommate, Neal Oa, 22, before killing himself.
Rane’s Facebook profile photo seems to capture his personality: a grinning guy with brown hair and a matching beard, flashing a thumbs-up at an “ugly sweater” party, to which he wore a garish old-lady sweater decorated with cats. He was goofy and funny, always quick with a witty comeback. But his friends said they could count on him to drop everything to help.
“Stephen was the greatest guy,” said Drew Needham, 21, who met Rane at freshman orientation and lived with him during their sophomore and junior years. “Stephen was great. That sums him up — he was great.”
Rane moved to Maryland from Indiana when he was in high school. He graduated in 2009 from Centennial High School in Ellicott City, where a friend said he played the saxophone in the marching band and flourished as a writer.
“He was every English teacher’s favorite,” said Jeanette Santori, 21, who dated Rane in high school and is now a senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Although they broke up after heading to different colleges, they stayed close, Santori said.
In high school, Rane was very smart, a little shy and always kind, Santori said. He listened to National Public Radio in his car, took dates to bookstores, and played strategy games, such as World of Warcraft and the Settlers of Catan. He would start passionate debates with his friends and usually win. He loved indie music and the sound of unusual instruments, such as the tin whistle, bagpipes and accordion.
For Senior Week, Rane and four friends went camping at Cunningham Falls in northern Maryland instead of partaking of the usual parties and beach trips. Just their luck, it rained the entire time, and a small lake pooled inside their tent.
“We call it ‘the fateful camping trip,’ ” Santori said. But it cemented a friendship among the five campers even as they headed off to five colleges. They kept in touch with Facebook and text messages and hung out during breaks.
Rane enrolled at Maryland’s flagship campus, where his mother works as a plant pathologist. He got a part-time job at a video game shop near campus. He decided to major in English, and friends say he added linguistics as a second major. He was on track to graduate in the spring, they said, and he hoped to teach English overseas.
Rane appears to have penned a guest column for the student newspaper in November 2011, explaining the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and urging students to take a stand against it.