One victim has died and another has been rushed into surgery after a shooting incident at parking lot at Worcester State University in Massachusetts around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, said authorities. Neither the victims nor the suspected assailants are students at the university, said a spokesperson for the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
Worcester is located approximately 40 miles west of Boston.
A shelter in place order was put in place by officials at the university shortly after the shooting, and was lifted just before 9:30 a.m. this morning. There is still a large police presence on campus.
“Students heard gunshots and then an ambulance came and took the two individuals who were shot away,” said Maureen Stokes, a communications official for the university. “At that point, police secured the area and determined at that time that there was no immediate threat to campus.”
Massachusetts State Police said the two people who were injured were taken to UMass Medical Center. Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. confirmed that one of the two victims has died. He said one person was taken into custody shortly after the shooting and a firearm was recovered. At this time, that person is only charged with trespassing and firearms charges.
Early Jr. said the shooting does not appear to be a random act and it is believed that all parties involved were known to each other.
The shooting occurred in a parking lot in the upper campus of the university, which is in between student dormitories Wasylean Hall and Sheehan Hall, said Stokes. The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office is urging anyone with information, photos, or video around the dormitories to share it with Massachusetts State Police, University Police, and Worcester Police.
Stokes said some students have already submitted videos of the shooting to police after they heard gunfire from the dorms.
“Initially the students were just informed that an incident had occurred and to shelter in place, and I think reasonably a person would think the worst because of what happened in Maine within the last 72 hours,” said Stokes.
There are around 6,200 students enrolled at Worcester State University. It has an open campus which is not locked or gated.
Early on Saturday morning, the university announced that it had canceled homecoming, family weekend and all university events scheduled to occur on Saturday. Stokes said university officials did not know what the outcome of the investigation would be or how long it would take. She said the university will not be retracting the cancellations because by the time vendors would have come to set up, they could be overlapping with the police investigation.
Massachusetts State Police, the Worcester State University Police Department and the Worcester Police Department continue to investigate the shooting.
“Once we lifted the shelter in place, students just wanted to be outside,” said Stokes. “They’re talking to a couple of officials who are around, counselors, and talking to the residential life students.”