Five people, including four students, suffered non-life-threatening injuries after gunfire erupted on Morgan State University’s campus in Northeast Baltimore on Tuesday night. Here’s what to know about the shooting and how it’s affecting the university.
Baltimore Police and federal agents responded to campus after the university’s officers heard shots being fired around 9:30 p.m. and found multiple victims in the area of a campus residential building and a fine arts facility.
No suspect has been identified, Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said at a news conference early Wednesday morning. The victims — four men and one woman — are 18 to 22 years old, Worley said.
Ballistics testing will be needed to show how many guns were fired, Worley said. Police believe one person was the target of two people with guns, but they also believe at least a third person also had a gun.
“What happened on our campus was such a senseless act of violence perpetrated on our community,” Morgan State President David K. Wilson said in a letter to the campus community.
Police believe the shooting took place outside, around the area of Thurgood Marshall Hall, one of Morgan State’s six on-campus residential facilities, and the Murphy Fine Arts Center.
Marshall Hall is a coed facility for new, returning and transfer students, according to the university’s website. The Murphy Center houses studios, classrooms and auditoriums used by the university’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts. It includes a 2,000-seat concert hall and a 300-seat theater.
Both buildings are located on the lower tip of the campus, near Hillen Road. The shooting occurred near several other residential buildings, including the Rawlings Residence Complex and Blount Towers.
Students on the campus were instructed to shelter in place until after midnight. Although a suspect is still at large, Worley said, the decision to lift the shelter order was made after a SWAT team had “cleared the building where we thought the suspect may have ran, or where we thought the shots came from.”
Like many universities, Morgan State has its own police force that includes sworn officers, civilian personnel and security officers, the police website states. The public campus is patrolled by the department 24 hours a day. To gain access to some facilities, an ID is required.
Earlier this year, the university implemented metal detectors at its resident halls, including Marshall Hall, The Spokesman, the school’s student newspaper, reported.
The university has instructed students seeking mental health assistance in the wake of the shooting to contact the University Counseling Center by calling 443-885-3130. Students can also access support online via UWill Counseling Services.
Brooke Foyles and Kayla Clark, the respective president and vice president of Morgan State’s student government association, encouraged students to call the school’s counseling center. Counseling staff will also available Wednesday at be at the University Student Center Bear Cave.
“We understand that the recent shooting has left many of you feeling concerned, frightened and uncertain,” Foyles and Clark said in a joint statement.
“We are a National Treasure, and will continue to be one, regardless of who tries to deter that,” the statement continues. “Let us come together as a community, support one another and stand strong in the face of adversity.”
The shooting coincided with the university’s annual homecoming festivities, drawing alumni back to Morgan State.
Homecoming week is marked with big events, including a pep rally and gala Friday and a large parade before Saturday’s football matchup against Stony Brook University.
A day after Tuesday’s shooting, university officials are still deciding whether to move forward with Wednesday’s night sold-out Sexyy Red concert, a popular rapper who is performing with Money Jake, a West Baltimore native.
A host hotel and three overflow ones for alumni to stay at during this year’s homecoming are sold out.
Earlier Tuesday evening, as part of the homecoming week, the school held the coronation of Mister and Miss Morgan State at the fine arts center before the shots started. Wilson attended the event and said it was “beautiful.”
“I am convening a meeting with my Executive Cabinet this morning to rethink the rest of Homecoming activities this week and will inform the university community of our decision later this afternoon,” Wilson said in his letter.
During the state Department of Public Works meeting on Wednesday, Gov. Wes Moore said homecoming is supposed to be a time for Maryland to celebrate Morgan State and called it a “national treasure.”
“We as a society, we cannot allow this to stand,” Moore said. “Because if we allow this to stand, we’re all going to fall.”
In the wake of the shooting, the university canceled classes on Wednesday “in the abundance of caution,” the university announced on X, formerly known as Twitter. The university has not announced whether classes will resume Thursday.
During the public works meeting, Moore said his office was working closely with city and federal authorities. He encouraged anyone with information to come forward and cooperate.
”There is a very real violence problem that we have in our society,” Moore said, reiterating past statements on the need to address the problem of guns in the hands of people who are “willing to pull the trigger on another human being.”
At a Wednesday news conference, Mayor Brandon Scott echoed Moore’s sentiment and called on federal officials to address the nationwide proliferation of guns.
“The horrific act of violence is a sickening reminder for all of us about how commonplace these incidents have become,” Scott said. “We’re going to continue to do our part in improving public safety and holding people accountable.”
Worley praised students on campus for cooperating with police as they cleared buildings multiple times.
“The young people who went through this trauma were extremely, extremely cooperative. They helped us in any way they could.”
U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, whose district includes Morgan State, said the perpetrator of the shooting will be met with justice.
“Be assured that the vicious criminal(s) responsible for this will be convicted, punished, and removed from our streets,” he said in a statement. “We remain Morgan proud and Baltimore strong.”
Morgan State is one of Maryland’s four historically Black colleges and universities. Founded in 1867, the school, located at 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, has over 140 academic programs and has graduated more than 55,000 degree candidates, according to its website.
As the biggest HBCU in the state, Morgan had over 9,100 students enrolled in fall 2022. However, unlike its HBCU counterparts, Morgan is not a part of the University System of Maryland and is overseen by its own Board of Regents.
Heading the university leadership is Wilson, who stepped into the role in 2010. He signed a seven-year contract extension in May.
This story might be updated.
Baltimore Sun reporters Sam Janesch, Emily Oplio and Lilly Price contributed to this article.