A Nov. 13 article on the arrest of two suspects in the fatal stabbing of a University of Maryland student incorrectly identified the high school one of the suspects attended. John R. Schlamp attended Howard High School. (Published 11/14/02)
Two men who witnesses and police said crashed an off-campus party near the University of Maryland were charged in the fatal stabbing of university sophomore Brandon J. Malstrom, authorities said yesterday.
Moments after Malstrom staggered from the party at a College Park house early Sunday, his arms clutching his chest, witnesses identified John R. Schlamp, 24, as one of the attackers, Prince George's County police said.
Schlamp, a graduate of Long Reach High School in Columbia who had no apparent connection to the university, was charged with first-degree murder Sunday. Police did not release that information until yesterday afternoon, more than 48 hours after the slaying.
Schlamp was denied bond by a Prince George's judge and is in the county jail, police said. He has a history of criminal charges that date to 1999, according to court records, including assault, theft and use of a deadly weapon.
Quan Lewayne Davis, 23, of Hanover in Anne Arundel County, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge about 3:30 p.m. yesterday, police announced late last night.
Police and witnesses said the stabbing, the first homicide of a University of Maryland student in recent memory, followed a scuffle that started when several men were thrown out of a private student party they had crashed in the 7300 block of Dickinson Avenue, about three blocks from campus.
Schlamp and two others left the house angry and seeking retaliation for being thrown out, according to police and the statement of charges filed against Schlamp.
The men wandered over to where Malstrom, 20, was standing, and seconds later Schlamp demanded that Malstrom hand over his cell phone. When Malstrom refused, Schlamp shouted, "I'm going to kill you" and punched him, according to court documents.
Schlamp's two friends, according to witnesses and the charging documents, joined in and began to beat Malstrom. One of the men then pulled a knife and stabbed Malstrom once in the chest, cutting his aorta, police said.
As of yesterday, the knife had not been recovered, and investigators said it was unclear what type of blade was used and whether Schlamp was the one who used it.
Sheila Schlamp, who lives with her husband in Columbia, said yesterday that she last saw her son Friday night. She said she had not spoken to him since his arrest.
"I know damn well my son did not go to College Park and stab someone from behind for a cell phone that he's had for years," she said. "I really feel sorry for the kid. But I feel sorry for my son, too."
Police reiterated yesterday that they are investigating the cell phone demand not as an attempted robbery but as a pretext for provoking a fight.
Malstrom's father, Bill, said in a telephone interview yesterday that grief-stricken relatives have spent the past few days at the family's home in Phoenix in Baltimore County. He said he and his wife have "experienced a loss we're not sure we'll ever be able to fill."
"We just thank God every day that [older son Bill] was with Brandon," Malstrom said, his voice choked with emotion. "They were absolutely best friends."
In response to the arrest of Schlamp, the victim's father said: "I don't know how our emotions will play out to the people responsible for his death. We just don't know right now."
Maj. Paul Dillon, spokesman for the campus police, said Schlamp was apprehended by a quick-thinking university patrol officer who came upon the chaotic aftermath of the assault before anyone even realized that Malstrom was injured.
Campus police routinely patrol neighborhoods near campus, especially during big party weekends like homecoming, the event that preceded the fatal stabbing. Dillon said that one officer had pulled onto Dickinson Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and saw a large group of people in the middle of the street who appeared to have just broken up a fight.
As students scattered from the scene, he said, the officer spoke quickly with witnesses, who indicated that Schlamp "was a key player in the altercation," so the officer arrested him.
It was only after Schlamp was arrested, Dillon said, that another witness discovered Malstrom lying in the side yard of a nearby house, where he had apparently stumbled to and collapsed.
Malstrom was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center, where he died about 6:30 a.m. Sunday after undergoing surgery.
The incident highlights the dangerous attraction of off-campus parties, perhaps the last unregulated realm of student social life at the university. Dormitory parties can't serve alcohol, fraternities must have formal guest lists, and upper-class campus apartments have resident advisers keeping an eye out for gatherings that grow too large or unruly.
But university officials say they can place no such restrictions on parties hosted by students who live off-campus in private homes.
"People have got to understand that they have to take responsibility for their safety," university spokesman George L. Cathcart said. "This is a large metropolitan area, and there are dangers out there."
Students interviewed this week said that many off-campus parties have an open-door policy. Invitations are extended loosely through the grapevine -- "We can't invite 500 people" individually, said Lee Wasser, 21, a junior who lives about a block from where Malstrom was stabbed.
It's not unusual for people unknown to the hosts to show up at a large house party, students said, and at such a large university, no one usually minds. "People are usually pretty welcoming of everybody," said Dan LaMonica. "They're just looking to have a good time."
But confrontations are not unusual, said Wasser. "Twenty guys show up you've never seen before, and it's like, 'Let's get them out of here.' "
Malstrom's slaying was the fifth student death on or near the suburban campus in just over a year. Two students were killed in last fall's tornado, and two succumbed to drug or alcohol overdoses.
Malstrom's family has established a scholarship fund in his honor. Contributions can be made to:
Brandon Malstrom Scholarship Fund
c/o SunTrust Bank
14300 Jarrettsville Pike
Phoenix, Md. 21131
Staff writer Ylan Q. Mui and staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.