Police: Wesleyan Shooter May Be Targeting Campus, Jewish Community

Middletown police hold a photo of the man suspected of killing Wesleyan student Johanna Justin-Jinich. (AP)

Authorities are not sure whether the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Wesleyan University student Wednesday remains in the Middletown area, but police said he may be targeting the campus and its Jewish community.

The suspect, whom police identified as Stephen Morgan, expressed threats in his personal journal toward Wesleyan and its Jewish students, said Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs.

Morgan, who has connections to New York, Colorado and Massachusetts, has not been apprehended, and university officials are asking students to remain inside and to be vigilant. Police also asked a synagogue nearby to close.

Morgan was not a student at Wesleyan. He and the victim, Johanna Justin-Jinich, participated in a six-week summer program at New York University in 2007. Both were residents in student housing but did not stay in the same residence hall, according to NYU spokesman John Beckman.

Toward the end of the program, Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint with the Public Safety Department, saying she had been receiving harassing e-mails and phone calls from Morgan, he said.

"The Public Safety Department brought in the NYPD, and initial conversations were conducted with each person by the police. Ultimately, after attempts to follow-up with Ms. Justin-Jinich about pursuing the matter, she declined to pursue the case," he said.

A New York City police report shows that Morgan allegedly threatened Justin-Jinich in 2007, when they were attending New York University.

Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint on July 10, 2007, claiming that he was calling her repeatedly and sent her insulting e-mails for at least a week.

"You're going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can't take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna," one of the e-mails said, according to the police report.

Morgan had apparently already left New York for Boston at the time the complaint was filed and was not arrested.

Police would not say why they believe Morgan may target the university or Jews.

Justin-Jinich's former stepmother, Karin Radcliffe, said the girl came from a Jewish family. "She was just a wonderful kid, very smart, very loving," Radcliffe said.

Congregation Adath Israel, a synagogue down the street from where the shooting occurred, was closed this morning. The synagogue closed at the request of police, according to a staff member at the First United Methodist Church, which is next door.

Dara Parent, a secretary at the Methodist church, said the church received an e-mail from the synagogue last night notifying its neighbors that it will close due to the shooting at the request of the police.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford has also alerted member organizations to be vigilant and has distributed photos of Morgan, said Cathrine F. Schwartz, the organization's executive director. "We're just practicing appropriate caution," she said.

The federation has directed affiliated agencies and organizations, including synagogues, "to implement heightened security and be aware of unusual or suspicious behavior or persons and trust their instincts," according to a statement on the federations' website, www.jewishhartford.org.

Wesleyan's faculty was also warned to stay home.

"Faculty and staff should not come to their offices unless otherwise instructed. We will be sending information soon in regard to food and other administrative services," Wesleyan spokesman David Pesci wrote in a statement.

In a phone interview, Pesci said no classes were planned for today, even before the shooting. Today is known as a "reading day," he said. It falls between the end of classes last week and final exams, which begin next week.