Tag Archives: broad street shooting

All Eyes on M-Town

Yesterday, the NY Times had a piece about the flurry of unusual and tragic events in our very own Middletown, CT. The Times offers the tragic Broad Street shooting last May, the September arrest of Raymond Clark III for the murder of a Yale student, and the recent power plant explosion as examples of Middletown being unexpectedly thrust into the national spotlight.

Is this a legitimate news item? Eh. Maybe. Picture our hero, the New York Times, drowning in a sea of new media, sputtering and gasping for air, flailing out in search of any lifeline it can find, when lo!–a tiny trickle of shocking events from one sleepy town in Connecticut! Voila, a biting story. How enlightening.

Strangely (or perhaps predictably), the Times decided to use Wesleyan’s weirdness as the article’s hook. They suggest that Middletown typically only makes headlines when Wesleyan does something silly–until recently. This should sound familiar. The “Wesleyan being crazy” trope has appeared again and again in coverage of our school. As Xue pointed out back when I was a frosh, apparently any article about kooky ol’ Wes must include mention of (a) marijuana, (b) the “naked dorm,” and (c) the famed pornography class. Now, the Times uses the same tired frame, this time nixing clothing-optional living and substituting chalking for pot. To quote Holly: “Le sigh.”

New York Times: Connecticut Town Chafes at Return to the Spotlight

Other Stephen Morgan Sues Wes

stephen morgan - cornellLast spring, in the immediate aftermath of the Broad Street shooting, the Middletown Police provided the Wes Public Affairs office with a photo of the suspect, Stephen Morgan…and we all noted how it looked nothing like the man in the surveillance camera footage.

After some finger-pointing between Wes and MPD, it was discovered that the initial photo was actually of a Cornell sociology professor by the name of…Stephen Morgan. That Stephen Morgan has now filed suit against the University, claiming he suffered “humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress” because of the mix-up:

Wesleyan and Yale, connected by recent tragedy

It seems only natural, now that the missing Yale student case is a confirmed homicide, that reporters would come to Wesleyan looking for a story about how sad this makes us in light of what happened last semester. And they did, earlier today.

Here’s the result, from Eyewitness News Channel 3:

Students at Wesleyan University are now linked to Yale University students, connected by the slayings of well-liked students. […] Students at Wesleyan University in Middletown said that what is happening on Yale’s campus is bringing back painful memories of a student’s killing back in May.

Anjana Ramal said, “It makes me a little more nervous.”

[…] As investigators sift through the mounting evidence in [Annie Le]’s killing, students at Wesleyan are forced to deal with painful memories of Jinich’s death and once again question the safety on Connecticut’s university campus’.Taylor Harvison, a student at Wesleyan said, “You can’t escape any negativity or violence no matter where you go.”

Yes. Yes, that’s true. A video report of WSFB‘s trip to Wes here.

Area Coordinator Brian Nangle sent out an email about the reporters’ presence soon after they arrived:

Wesleyan/Jewish identity explored after shooting

bayitBefore his attack on Johanna Justin-Jinich, killer Stephen Morgan made jarring comments in his journal about targeting Jews and Wesleyan students in general, which made an already terrible incident even more unsettling.

American Jewish newspaper The Forward explores his conflation of Wesleyan students, Jews, and Justin-Jinich, and talks about Jewish identity at Wesleyan in the wake of the shooting.

President Michael Roth and Rabbi David Leipziger Teva were (probably rightly) quick to dismiss the specific role of Jewishness in the muder, since this guy was clearly twisted. The students interviewed in the article agreed:

[…] what could have been a moment of vulnerability and isolation for Wesleyan’s Jewish students turned out to be quite the opposite. In interviews, Jewish, non-Jewish and half-Jewish Wesleyan students suggested repeatedly that nothing the alleged gunman had done moved them to view Jews as separated out in any way from the rest of the student body. For the students — and, it appears from his writings, for Morgan, as well — there was no distinction, because there is essentially no difference.

I think it was more a dislike of Wesleyan students, and he considers us all ‘Jews,’” said freshman Jon Booth, who said he is not Jewish.

The May 6 shooting death of Justin-Jinich burst what students here describe as “the Wesleyan bubble,” replacing the ordinary stresses of finals period with shock and fear. In addition to being a very personal and fatal attack on Justin-Jinich — whom Morgan had stalked in the past — it also appeared to be, from Morgan’s journals, an attack on Wesleyan’s identity, on a campus where identity is not assumed, but debated, studied and even protested.

For Morgan, who was apprehended May 7, part of that had to do with his sense of Wesleyan’s students as the chosen elite. According to a warrant for his arrest, Morgan wrote resentfully about seeing the beautiful, smart and well-to-do students at Wesleyan. Somehow, it seems, this, combined with his obsession for Justin-Jinich, led him to focus on a different kind of chosenness, one that singled out Jewish students from their peers — or, perhaps, conflated the two.

No Plea from Morgan Today

According to the Hartford Courant, Stephen Morgan’s attorney Richard Brown asked for and received a continuance “so that he could have more time to discuss the pros and cons of a probable cause hearing with his client.” The next court date is set for June 9.

It also looks like his bail will remain at $15 million.

Hartford Courant: No Plea Yet In Wesleyan Murder Case

Wesleyan praised for campus crisis response

campus-security

The Courant took note of the Wesleyan administration’s quick response to the campus security crisis last week, including the campus lockdown and rapid communications, which may have prevented it from escalating into a much more serious situation like at Virginia Tech two years ago.

The federal Higher Education Opportunity Act passed last year required all colleges to create communications systems to contact students immediately in response to dangerous situations, and Wesleyan had “CONNECT”ed with the email, voicemail,  and text message system which was activated on Wednesday.

The University’s response process over the course of those two days is detailed, along with the reactions of parents and campus security watchdog groups:

“From what I have seen, Wesleyan did respond quickly to getting the information out to its students and its faculty,” said Alison Kiss, programs director for Security on Campus Inc. [a nonprofit group in Pennsylvania dedicated to promoting college safety].

David Pesci, the Wesleyan spokesman, said that the most important thing in handling a campus emergency is relaying the facts “with concise and clear communication. …You want to keep people informed and keep any kind of frantic response or panic to a minimum.”

Which is what happened, thankfully.

Hartford Courant: Wesleyan Wins Praise for Handling of the Fatal Shooting of Johanna Justin-Jinich

News recap: Morgan’s bail, troubling past; Daniels dies; CVH patient escapes; RBC closed

The lawyer of alleged murderer Stephen Morgan is calling his client’s $15 million bail excessive and plans to seek to lower Morgan’s bail when he’s next in court on May 19, reports the Hartford Courant:

Morgan, [defense lawyer Richard] Brown said, has no prior convictions, is not a flight risk and the evidence shows there were no other weapons found. “This is a person that turned himself in when he didn’t have to,” Brown said.

According to FOX News, an unnamed “former Navy buddy” of Morgan’s also had trouble with the alleged murderer:

“I dodged a bullet on Wednesday and some poor Jewish girl got it instead,” said the 32-year-old veteran, who referred to Morgan as “Psycho Steve” and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “I don’t want him getting out of jail and trying to find me. He threatened to kill me so many freaking times. I didn’t think he’d actually go through with it.”

The Courant reports that longtime Wesleyan coach Norm Daniels died yesterday morning in Windsor, CT at the age of 102:

A charter member of the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame, Daniels came to the school as a physical education instructor in 1934 and coached football, wrestling, baseball, basketball and squash over 39 years.

The Middletown Press is reporting that Fred Concannon, a patient at nearby Connecticut Valley Hospital, escaped Friday night. Police still do not  know where Concannon, who has escaped from CVH at least three times before, is.

“At the time Mr. Concannon left the hospital, he was not considered dangerous to others,” [Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services spokesman Wayne] Dailey said. “However, his level of risk becomes increasingly difficult to predict the longer he remains without supervision and treatment.”

According to the Courant, Concannon was committed to CVH in December 1995 after serving time in prison for manslaughter.

FOX 61 has several videos about last week’s vigil and our return to routine. The Courant ran a story about Friday’s vigil, too.

Finally, the Red and Black Café will be closed until September, according to the café’s website.

Memorial service for Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10

President Roth has announced a memorial service to be held this week for Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10:

I invite you to join with Johanna’s family, friends, and teachers for a celebration of her life and learning at Wesleyan. Johanna’s friends ask that you wear bright colors if you are able to attend.

Written memories or thoughts of Johanna are being collected to be incorporated into Memory Books by Johanna’s friends for her family. If you would like to submit a thought, memory, photo or drawing, please bring it to the service or send it to Dean Marina Melendez by June 7.

The service is apparently open to members of the “Wesleyan University community” only; Wes IDs will be checked at the door. Simulcasts will be arranged should the Chapel fill to capacity.

Date: Thursday, May 14
Time: 7:00 PM; doors open at 6:15 PM
Place: Memorial Chapel