Two University of Maryland students are dead and a third is in serious condition following an early morning shooting that police are now describing as a murder-suicide.
According to Prince George’s County police, the deadly incident began around 1 a.m. outside a home in the 8700 block of 36th Avenue where three students lived. The house is at the intersection of 36th Avenue and Metzerott Road, about a block from the University of Maryland campus.
Police said investigators believe that one of the roommates lit a fire in the basement of the home, and his two roommates confronted him about it.
All three men then went outside, to the front of the house, where the student who had started the blaze allegedly shot one of the roommates, police said.
As the second roommate tried to flee, the gunman shot him as well, police said. The suspect then went to the back of the house, where he turned the gun on himself, police said.
None of the students’ names were released pending notification of their families. The roommate who was wounded is expected to survive.
“The University of Maryland community awoke this morning to heartbreak,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement Tuesday morning. “We are all shocked and saddened by this morning’s tragic events. We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the families and friends of the victims.”
Loh said that the campus counseling center and places of worship would be open for anyone in need of support.
“Ours is a university of great resolve,” Loh said. “Together, we will emerge from our collective sadness.”
An initial alert from campus police simply described the incident as a shooting, while Prince George’s County police initially referred to the case as a “death investigation.”
A tweet by Prince George’s County police spokeswoman Julie Parker around 5:30 a.m. classified the incident as a murder-suicide.
Homicide detectives investigating murder/suicide on 36th Ave. #CollegePark. Media briefing momentarily.— Julie Parker (@PGPDJulie) February 12, 2013
The case remains under investigation. No additional details have been released.