COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A University of Maryland graduate student with a history of mental illness shot and killed one roommate near the off-campus home they shared early Tuesday and wounded another before committing suicide, authorities said.
Prince George's County police identified the shooter as Dayvon Maurice Green of College Park, 23, an engineering student.
Green's family told investigators that he had been suffering from a mental illness for at least a year and had been prescribed medication, police spokeswoman Julie Parker said. Neither Parker nor University of Maryland President Wallace Loh had any information on whether the university had been made aware of Green's medical history.
Police found a 9mm handgun next to Green's body in the backyard of the home. He also had a bag of weapons, including a baseball bat, a machete and a semi-automatic handgun. Parker said the handgun was purchased legally in Baltimore County last year. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating the purchase of the semi-automatic weapon, Parker said.
Green, who obtained his undergraduate degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, did not leave a suicide note, Parker said.
He had been a NASA student ambassador at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.
The incident began before 1 a.m. Tuesday when two of Green's roommates saw that he had been setting fires inside and outside the home. The three began putting out the fires when one of the roommates saw Green pull a handgun from his waistband. The roommate began running but was shot as he ran down the street. That roommate was undergoing surgery Tuesday and is expected to survive, Parker said.
A second roommate, Stephen Alex Rane, 22, of Silver Spring, died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds outside the home.
Rane was in his final semester with a double major in English and linguistics, according to a statement from William A. Cohen, chairman of the university's English Department. Rane often made the Dean's List.
Tuesday afternoon, the pavement in front of the home was still soaked with blood, where Rane lay after being shot. In the backyard, remnants of the fire remained, including a half-melted white plastic table surrounded by unspent charcoal briquettes.
The kitchen window and a rear window of a next-door neighbor's car had been shot out.
Neighbor Frank Keeler went to investigate after his wife said she heard about 10 gunshots. He saw medics attending to the two victims.
"I knew this guy was going to die," he said, pointing to the spot on the street. "I've seen shootings before, and he was not in good shape."
One neighbor who declined to give her name said the students living in the house had just moved in a few weeks ago for the spring semester.
Another neighbor, senior Paul Rowe, said he and his roommates heard a series of sounds and couldn't tell if it was gunshots or firecrackers.
"We figured if they were gunshots, we should probably stay inside, and if they were firecrackers, we'd find out later," he said.
While there have been some crimes like robberies in and near campus, Rowe said he figured Tuesday's shooting was "a freak event. You can't really see it coming. I don't think any of the roommates expected him to pull a gun and pop the other two."
The shooting occurred in a neighborhood of single-family homes a few blocks from the back side of the Maryland campus. Most of the homes are rented out by students.
"We heard the gunshots. People thought it was fireworks," said University of Maryland senior Patti Schult, who lives about a block away from the shooting scene. "It's definitely a shock, it happening so close to home."
Neighbors said the street is relatively quiet for student housing, and that they were not aware of any ongoing problems at the house.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said it is "extremely rare" for a Maryland student to be killed in gun violence, though he did not have exact figures.
Loh called the shooting "a great tragedy for the University of Maryland, for the entire community."