Andrew Hassl had just arrived home from work early Tuesday morning and was hanging out with his roommates on a residential street near the University of Maryland's College Park campus when they heard shots outside.
As the roommates went to turn off lights and lock the doors, Hassl said, they saw a young man they recognized as a neighbor standing at the kitchen door in his pajamas, asking for help. They let him in, discovered he had been shot in the leg, and hid him in the bathroom as they waited for police to arrive.
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8700 36th Avenue, College Park, MD 20740, USA
"He said his roommate went berserk," Hassl said Tuesday night, describing a shooting that left two university students dead and another wounded, and plunged the campus into mourning.
Police said Dayvon Maurice Green, a 23-year-old graduate student, had packed a bag with a machete, a baseball bat and a fully loaded, semiautomatic Uzi when he started two small fires around his home — a trap set to lure his two roommates out of bed to shoot them.
Green, a promising engineering student from the Baltimore area who also had a 9 mm handgun in his waistband, killed one roommate, Stephen Alex Rane, 22, whose family lives in Silver Spring, and wounded a second, whom police have not been identified, before fatally shooting himself, police said. Both roommates were undergraduate students. The wounded roommate is Neal Oa, a 22-year-old junior economics major from Urbana, said his stepfather, Chris Merz. Oa has been released from the hospital.
Police said they are investigating whether Green, who graduated from Morgan State University and had been battling a diagnosed mental illness for at least a year, could have been plotting more violence after his roommates confronted him at their off-campus house.
The apparent murder-suicide — involving students, mental illness and high-powered weapons — comes at a time of a broad-ranging, nationwide discussion on school safety, gun control and mental health policy that has followed other recent acts of gun violence.
Rane, a senior English major, had graduated in 2009 from Centennial High School in Ellicott City. Principal Carl S. Perkins described him as a "quiet, respectful student who related well with teachers and peers."
Rane's mother and stepfather both work at the university, according to Charles Mitter, head of the entomology department. Karen Rane, his mother, is head of the department's plant diagnostic clinic, and her husband, Gerald Brust, is a senior agent who researches crops and insecticides.
"They have a lot of friends on campus," Mitter said of Karen Rane and Brust.
Brust, reached by phone, declined to comment.
At a Tuesday night vigil at the university chapel, university President Wallace D. Loh choked up. "Each of us is asking, what do we need to change to prevent or mitigate the chances of something like this happening?" he said.
"There are lessons to be learned, policy questions to be discussed, changes to be made," he added at the vigil attended by about 125 mourners.
Early Tuesday, dozens of reporters descended onto the residential street where the shooting occurred, just across University Boulevard from the campus. Police said they had been to the same home twice before in recent months. In October, they responded there for a burglary call, but it was determined nothing had been stolen. In January, they responded there for a call that turned out to be a prank, said Julie Parker, a Prince George's County police spokeswoman.
According to police, who were able to interview the wounded roommate before his hospitalization and afternoon surgery, Rane woke up about 1 a.m. and discovered that Green had set a fire in the backyard of the house they shared in the 8700 block of 36th Ave. Rane alerted Oa, who is expected to survive, and both went outside to talk with Green, discovering a second fire in the basement on the way.
The three students agreed to put out the fires together, but as they were walking back into the house to get water, Oa noticed that Green was reaching for a weapon in his waistband, police said. He immediately fled.
"As he did, he heard gunshots, and then very quickly realized he'd been hit," Parker said. Rane collapsed outside the house with fatal wounds, she said.
Green then fatally shot himself in the backyard, police said. No suicide note has been discovered, Parker said. The 9 mm handgun, which Parker said was legally purchased by Green in Baltimore County in 2012, was found on the ground next to his body.
Tuesday night, police said the fully loaded, semiautomatic weapon UZI B was a .22-caliber rifle manufactured by Israel Weapons Industries. Green bought the weapon legally Jan. 18 from a gun store in Silver Spring, police said.
Green's family said that he had been suffering from a mental illness for at least a year and had been on medication in the past, Parker said. Police didn't disclose details about his illness or what medications he may have been taking.