Teen arrested, 2nd person sought in Morgan State campus shooting

Published 10/13/2023 10:29 a.m. EDT, Updated 10/16/2023 10:19 p.m. EDT

A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with multiple counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting that injured five people on the campus of Morgan State University the night of Oct. 3.

The unidentified boy was arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C., without incident, Baltimore Police said Friday morning, the result of cooperation between federal and local police in Baltimore and D.C.

Baltimore Police also issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect, Jovan Williams, 18, in connection with the homecoming week shooting that locked down the campus for several hours. Police consider Williams to be armed and dangerous.

He was one of more than a dozen members of an alleged drug trafficking organization called the Kennedy Street Crew indicted in March by a federal grand jury on 32 charges related to drugs, firearms and money laundering.

D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and federal law enforcement announced the arrest of 12 alleged gang members in July. Four, including Williams, remained at large, according to a statement by D.C. Police. According to the March indictment, the Kennedy Street Crew, or KDY, operated “prolific open air drug trafficking markets” in and around the 100-1200 blocks of Kennedy Street in Northwest D.C.

“We will not rest until Williams is in custody,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said. “While this arrest cannot undo the damage and trauma caused that day, it is my hope that it can bring some peace and justice to the victims, the Morgan community and our city.”

The historically Black university canceled classes and called off all homecoming week activities, including its football game against Stony Brook, after the shooting, which occurred near a dorm on the university’s campus. Police believe the gunfire was the result of a conflict between two groups.

Four men and one woman ages 18 to 22 were shot, and all were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds. Police believe none was involved in the conflict. Four were students, one a visitor. Family and friends of students were part of the homecoming celebration. A ceremony for the homecoming court was going on when the shooting occurred.

“The Morgan Community can take solace today in knowing that an arrest has been made and we are one step closer to bringing all of the alleged culprits responsible for the incident that occurred on our campus to justice,” Morgan State President David K. Wilson said in a statement released by the police.

In an open letter to the school, Wilson thanked those “who showed the courage in coming forward to assist in this investigation by supplying key information leading to the arrest of the suspected assailant.”

“While we take comfort in knowing that a suspect has been captured,” Wilson wrote, “we must understand that this investigation is still ongoing and won’t be concluded until everyone involved in the shooting is apprehended. Please know that violence of any kind is never accepted and will not be tolerated on our campus. And should this investigation reveal the involvement of any member of our community, there will be consequences.”

The shooting was the third to occur during homecoming week at Morgan State in the past three years.

On Oct. 10, Wilson announced that 8,000 feet of fencing would be added to enclose 90% of the campus, at a cost of $20 million. The fencing, along with an existing wall, would allow only a few entry points, where security would be stationed to check identification of anyone entering the campus. Additionally, the university is considering adding metal detectors at school buildings.

“We will continue to provide every level of support we have to the Morgan campus,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. “As we do every day, the city will continue doing our part to reduce and end gun violence by removing illegal guns and the people who use them off of our streets, while pursuing a comprehensive public-health-informed violence reduction strategy. However, it continues to be clear that tackling the epidemic of gun violence in our country is going to require significant national action to address the proliferation of guns in our community, particularly those in the hands of people who should not have access to them.”

Before being indicted by a grand jury, Williams was among five adults and four juveniles arrested in January during the execution of a search warrant at a home in Northeast D.C. by federal authorities and a unit of the Metropolitan Police.

Numerous pistols and ammunition were found, and all five were charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and related counts. At that time, police obtained a warrant to extract a DNA sample from Williams using a cheek swab. He was already 18.

“In the past, D.C. would worry that Baltimore crime would somehow make its way down there, but now it appears D.C. crime has actually come to Baltimore,” State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Ivan Bates said in a statement. “Our dedicated law enforcement teams have been working tirelessly, and today’s arrest is a testament to their dedication and professionalism. We will continue to pursue every lead, leaving no stone unturned, to bring all responsible parties to justice.”

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