A Saturday morning stabbing at the University of Maryland left one man dead in what police are calling a “totally unprovoked” attack.
The man killed was a Bowie State University student who was waiting for an Uber ride with two friends, said David B. Mitchell, the chief of police at the College Park campus. The suspect in the slaying is a U-Md. student. The suspect and student stabbed did not know each other, Mitchell said.
As of Saturday afternoon, police had not released the identities of anyone involved in the case, pending charges and family notifications.
The violence shocked students and administrators of both campuses, which are in the middle of spring graduation celebrations.
“I can tell you it rips your heart out,” Mitchell said. “When I sat down with the victim’s father, who is a military veteran, and his pastor, we shed tears together.”
The victim was waiting with two friends for a ride along Regents Drive near Montgomery Hall at about 3 a.m. when another man “approached and, totally unprovoked, stabbed the victim in the chest,” Mitchell said.
The victim was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The assailant fled but was picked up shortly after by Prince George’s County police, Mitchell said. The victim’s friends identified the suspect as the attacker.
Police recovered a folding knife, and the suspect had been drinking, Mitchell said. The suspect is white and the victim was black, but the crime did not appear to be racially motivated, he said.
The suspect faces first- and second-degree murder charges and the incident was captured on surveillance video, Mitchell said.
The Bowie State student’s family was “shattered” and “very distraught,” Mitchell said.
The presidents of Bowie State and U-Md. said their campuses will hold moments of silence before their graduation ceremonies this week in honor of the slain student.
“Bowie State University and the entire university community is very, very saddened to have lost this very promising young student at such a critical time in his life,” Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim said.
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh called the stabbing a “horrific event” and was visibly shaken at a news conference with Burnim and police Saturday afternoon.
“I’m still in a state of shock, of anguish, of sorrow,” Loh said. “A young man’s life has been taken away from all of us. It doesn’t matter if he is from Bowie State or University of Maryland. It makes no difference. He died, and that should not have happened.”
Bowie State and U-Md. offered counseling for students in light of the violence.
There hasn’t been a homicide on campus in at least 10 years, as far back as the police department has been keeping public safety stats, said Mitchell, who called the fatal stabbing “totally extraordinary for our campus.”
Michael Delash, a 24-year-old architecture student, said he received several alerts from police about the stabbing. The news shocked Delash and his roommates, who are used to receiving police alerts for incidents that happen around campus for incidents that aren’t nearly as tragic.
“I was surprised that it was so serious,” Delash said. “Generally people on campus are very civilized and accepting.”
While police were investigating the stabbing, U-Md. was abuzz with students preparing for finals or celebrating commencement with their families.
“This is supposed to be a joyous time in your life,” said Amanda Gaines, 22, a journalism student who was posing for photos in her cap and gown with family that flew in from Florida. “It’s unfortunate that people have to suffer from losses at this time.”