“He would say, ‘You can’t tell people they’re wrong in their grammar because of an old rule established by someone in a position of authority,’ ” Santori recalled.
Rane lived in the college dorms his first two years and in an on-campus apartment with three other students the first semester of his junior year.
“His side of the room was always neat and tidy,” said Needham, a senior biology major from the Philadelphia area. “My side was the opposite, papers everywhere.”
Last spring, Rane studied in Ireland and traveled around Europe, soaking up the languages and cultures. When he returned to Maryland for his senior year, he needed a place to live and found a room for rent in an off-campus house. Rane didn’t know any of his housemates well before moving in, but everyone seemed to get along — except for Green, whose bizarre and unpredictable behavior scared Rane, said Needham and Santori.
Early Tuesday morning, the university sent out a crime alert, notifying the community about a shooting near campus. Facebook and Twitter lit up with reports that two students were dead and another was seriously injured, but the names of those involved were not released until the afternoon.
Santori said she received a phone call from Rane’s older sister about 11 a.m. and was tasked with calling their camping group.
“He did all the right things,” Santori said. “He was getting a degree. He was almost done. He had plans for what to do next. His life was too short. It was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Needham said that on Tuesday morning, a group of Rane’s friends pieced together that the crime scene was Rane’s house. They heard that one student was alive and in the hospital. They prayed it was Rane. Soon they learned the truth.
“It’s surreal,” Needham said. “If you told me that Stephen slipped on an Xbox controller and died, I would probably believe you. But this? I can’t believe this. It’s not real.”