Tag Archives: shooting

All Campus Email: Police Investigating Shooting on Long Lane (CW: Gun Violence)

Editor’s Note: This story is actively unfolding, and posts linked to in this article are being updated as more information becomes available. If you are upset or disturbed by this news and need support, please reach out to CAPS at (860) 685-2910 and alert the CAPS staff you are in need of a same day appointment. If you are unsure if your issue is a “crisis,” please contact CAPS to discuss.

Image credit: WFSB

Just before 2 PM, I heard from a Pi Cafe employee who received a phone call from their child who attends school in Middletown that there had been a shooting on Long Lane (the road, not the farm).

Alarmed that there had been no Public Safety or other alerts, I did a Google News search of “Long Lane shooting Middletown CT” which yielded the following news reports on the incident:

After emailing Public Safety Director Scott Rohde at 2:11 PM, I received this update at 2:33 PM:

“Public Safety was in contact with MPD. It was determined there was no immediate risk to campus. The suspect is known to the police. No specific action was requested of Wesleyan by the police. The suspect was believed to have left the area going south, further distancing himself from campus. We choose to notify both child care centers on campus, and provided the information we had to the Physical Plant staff who work in the Long Lane area. I sent out a campus notice a few moments ago as an information item.”

Film Series: Tower

2016. USA. Dir: Keith Maitland. Documentary/Animation. 92 min.

Before mass shootings became a depressingly regular event, a 1966 incident at the University of Texas at Austin shook the entire nation. Combining archival footage with rotoscope animation, Maitland retells how a shooter held the campus hostage for 96 minutes from atop the university’s bell tower, and how a few brave souls saved hundreds of lives that day.

There will be a moment of silence before the screening for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.

Tonight / 8 p.m. / Goldsmith Family Cinema / Free

Abrams ’12 Discusses “Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown” in the Atlantic

“In Middletown, the connection between those ignored by society who then come back to cause harm is difficult to overlook.”

In the days and hours after the Newtown shooting, my thoughts turned to Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, the Wesleyan student who was senselessly gunned down in Broad Street Books in 2009. A prefrosh at the time, I wasn’t on campus. I followed the tragedy, in horror and shock, from the safety of my parents’ house, and I fielded uncomfortable questions from high school classmates who asked if I was going to “the school where that girl was killed.”

I’m not the only member of the Wesleyan community for whom Sandy Hook triggered memories of 2009. First came a blog post from Professor Claire Potter, who reflects on faculty experiences in the wake of Justin-Jinich’s murder and argues forcefully against proposals to arm teachers. Then followed a Huffington Post column from President Roth, who advocates for gun control and writes, “If we falter, if we think the politics too difficult or too complicated, we should remember Johanna.”

Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown, Connecticut” is the latest, a sprawling Atlantic piece that weaves together the shooting of Justin-Jinich, the 2012 outrage over Middletown elementary school “scream rooms,” and the horrific 1989 stabbing of a young girl on Main Street into a portrait of a small city still haunted by violence and stigmatization of the mentally ill. (David Peterson, the schizophrenic man who stabbed nine-year-old Jessica Short as her family looked on, had just escaped from Connecticut Valley Hospital, where Stephen Morgan is now held. Like Morgan, Peterson was later ruled insane.)

“Teachers Are Not Soldiers”: Tenured Radical on Sandy Hook, Wesleyan Shooting

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, should teachers be armed?

One week after the Newtown shooting, the NRA has ended its social media blackout and the national gun policy debate is as bitter as it’s ever been. Thousands of Americans are demanding gun control now, and if you’re reading Wesleying, chances are you agree. But on the gun-owning side of the lobby—the sort of people who follow NRA’s Twitter account in the first place—conservatives demand the opposite: more guns, more concealed carry, more self-defense. (Don’t believe these people are real? Read a few NRA Facebook comments. Go ahead; I’ll wait.) In one heated exchange, Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America appeared on Piers Morgan and suggested that gun control advocates are responsible for the massacre. “Since we have concealed carry laws in all of our country now, people can get a concealed firearm,” Pratt argued. “And yet, we have laws that say not in schools.”

Should teachers be armed in the classroom? Could guns in school have saved the lives of 20 children and six teachers? Should America combat guns with—err, more guns?

Over at Tenured Radical, in a post titled “Teachers Are Not Soldiers,” Professor Claire Potter has a response for the pro-gun lobby. In a phrase: “Uh, no.”

Professor Potter describes learning about the Sandy Hook massacre after having just read Jeffrey Goldberg’s December Atlantic piece in favor of more guns. The bulk of her argument revolves around an experience at Wesleyan following the shooting of May, 2009, when a gunman remained on the loose after murdering Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 in Red & Black Cafe. Wesleyan’s campus went into lockdown, and Potter waited for hours in the Center for the Americas:

Stream: President Obama Addresses Newtown Shooting

As horrifying details continue to emerge, here’s footage of President Obama addressing today’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which is just 40 miles or so west of Middletown. Continuing updates on the tragedy appear here.

In the brief remarks, Obama says that he addressed the tragedy not as president, but “as a parent.” “Our hearts are broken today,” the president says, pausing to pull himself together. “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them.” He appears to choke up at various points in the video.

“We’re going to have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president continues, but he doesn’t address gun control in any specific way. The full text of Obama’s remarks appears here, via The Atlantic Wire.

Newtown is a short drive from Wesleyan, so it’s no surprise that the Middletown community is particularly shaken by the shooting. Like many WesKids, I’ve driven through Newtown countless times on I-84 to get to Wes. I’ve stopped and had lunch at the town’s Blue Colony Diner. I’ve had professors who live in the town. According to Middletown Patch, Middletown Superintendent of Schools Patricia Charles has sent a letter to Middletown parents promising to redouble efforts to keep children safe in Middletown schools:

Governor Hickenlooper ’74 Speaks on Colorado Shooting

“We will come back stronger than ever from this . . . although it’s obviously going to be a very hard process.”

As endless updates, questions, videos, statements, and expressions of shock and grief spilled out across the Internet in the wake of last night’s horrific (and horrifically well-documented) Colorado shooting, my thoughts turned to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ’74, who gave the 2010 Commencement Address when he was Mayor of Denver. Like more recent speaker Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Hickenlooper reps Wesleyan in Centennial State politics. And like Bennet, Hickenlooper has come under criticism from some here at Wes for his political choices.

Governor Hickenlooper has a tough task ahead of him. If anyone knows this, it’s former Governor Bill Owens, who served during the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre. But today the current governor spoke with grace and poise, even as he acknowledged the impossibility of expressing his grief in words. Hickenlooper spoke at a press conference with other Colorado authorities, and his voice cracked as he urged citizens not to “allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy”:

Our hearts are broken as we think about the family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy. This is the act, apparently, of a very deranged mind. This is a safe city and a safe state and a safe country. And we need to recognize we can’t allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy. . . . There’s not one of us—certainly those of use who have children—who does not hear this story and think of that being your child in that movie theater. And that reality makes the pain and the grief too intense for words. We will come back stronger than ever from this, although it’s obviously going to be a very hard process.

The Bill Owens connection (and geographic proximity to Littleton) underscores one revelation: that what is most chilling about the tragedy is not the killer’s combat outfit or his advanced weaponry or booby-trapped apartment or even the on-scene cell phone videos spilling into news reports.

Stephen Morgan to be Committed to Whiting for Up To 60 Years

In December, Stephen Morgan was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2009 shooting of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’09. At the time of the verdict, we reported that Morgan would subsequently be sent to Whiting Forensic Institute in Middletown for a 60-day evaluation. “If Morgan is deemed sane at that time,” reported the Middletown Press, “he will be released back into society.” That alarming possibility has been avoided: as of today’s mental evaluation, Morgan will be committed to Whiting, a maximum-security psychiatric hospital unit in Middletown, for up to 60 years:

A state mental health expert testified during a Superior Court commitment hearing that Morgan, the Massachusetts man who gunned down a Wesleyan student at a cafe bookstore near campus in 2009, is delusional, psychotic and paranoid and a danger to himself and society.

Susan McKinley from the Whiting Forensic Institute told a three-judge panel that Morgan should remain at Whiting, the maximum-security psychiatric unit at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.

Morgan’s attorney argued that Morgan should be held for 45 years, while prosecutor Timothy Liston argued for the maximum term of 75. However long he’s held, the mental health expert testified, Morgan remains deeply delusional and confused about events relating to the 2009 shooting:

“His thinking is still disorganized… He really doesn’t have a realistic appreciation of how disturbed his thinking has become,” McKinley said.

BREAKING NEWS: Second Shooting at Virginia Tech

Breaking news from Virginia:

Another shooting has taken place at Virginia Tech. At least two people are dead as of this writing, including one police officer. The suspect fled on foot and currently remains at large. Wesleying will provide updates as this grave news rolls in.

Update [6.41pm]: The campus lockdown has lifted. Police have recovered a weapon and there is suspicion that the second victim was in fact the shooter himself. However, no details have been released about the Virginia Tech police officer that was killed or the suspect/second victim. More details here.

Update [3.49pm]: NYTimes coverage offers some more substantial info.

Update [3.47pm]: Click here for additional time-specific info.

The Trial of Stephen Morgan

Two and a half years after the tragic shooting of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, the trial of Stephen Morgan began yesterday in Middletown. (For those who may not have been around in 2009: Morgan, a 32-year-old Marblehead, Mass., native is charged with the murder of Justin-Jinich on May 6, 2009, in Red & Black Cafe.) “Morgan chose the three-judge panel over a jury for his trial,” reports the Associated Press, and he is choosing to plead insanity. Whether or not the judges accept the insanity claim, the stakes are high:

If convicted of murder, he could face up to 60 years in prison or be committed to a high-security state psychiatric hospital, depending on the judges’ ruling on the insanity claim. He was also charged with two other felonies — intimidation due to bias and carrying a pistol without a permit. [ . . . ] Both the prosecution and defense are expected to put psychiatrists on the witness stand to testify about Morgan’s mental health.

Eye witnesses to the shooting took the stand on Wednesday, including Susan Gerhardt ’09, Barry Finder ’09, and Capt. Sean Moriarty of the Middletown Police Department.

BREAKING: Student Shot and Killed at Broad Street Books; Spring Fling Cancelled


UPDATE 3:21pm
From an all-campus e-mail:

This is an update of the emergency notification sent earlier this afternoon. A Wesleyan student was fatally shot at Red and Black Café this afternoon. The name of the student will be released upon notification of her immediate family. A gun was recovered at the scene of the shooting, however the suspect is still at large. Students, faculty and staff are urged to remain indoors while Middletown Police continue to search for suspect(s). All campus events scheduled for today, including Spring Fling, are canceled.

Michael Roth

UPDATE 2:49pm The Hartford Courant reports: Student Shot Dead Near Wesleyan:

MIDDLETOWN – A Wesleyan student was shot and killed in a midday shooting at a popular bookstore near the Wesleyan University campus around 1 p.m. today, police sources said.

A witness said someone entered Broad Street Books, at the intersection of Broad and William Street, approached a woman behind the counter and fired multiple shots.

Police are still searching for the gunman, whom they describe as a white male with a thin build. They recovered a gun at the scene, said Middletown Police Lt. Margaret Liseo. Police have cordoned off the area, she said.

All schools in Middletown were locked down as a precaution, Liseo said. A statement from Wesleyan University recommended that students and staff should remain indoors and remain there until further notice.

Police and medical personnel have temporarily closed nearby streets. Officers appeared briefly on the roof of Broad Street Books. Armed officers in fatigues are in the area, and two officers followed a police dog as it ran up William Street, apparently in pursuit of the suspect. Police said the gunman was a white male with a thin build.

The university also canceled the annual “Spring Fling” outdoor party on campus. Hundreds of students had gathered on campus for the event that started at noon today but were ordered to go indoors after the shooting.


I just got a text message from the Wesleyan emergency system that reads:

There has been a shooting near campus. Students, faculty and staff should remain indoors. Check e-mail for additional info.

The first e-mail just came in:

This is Mike Whaley, VP for Student Affairs with a Wesleyan Community Alert.

Middletown Police has notified the University that a shooting occurred just after 1:00pm today in the area of Broad Street Books. The suspect has not yet been identified. Middletown Police have responded to the area. We advise students, faculty and staff to remain indoors until more information is available.

As more information is obtained the community will be notified via e-mail.

Listen to the voice message that went out as an emergency notification here.

I’m off campus, so in addition to these messages, all I’ve heard is that the hill was cleared off.

Feel free to share updates/info in the comments of this post.


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Police said a woman was shot in a Middletown bookstore on Wednesday afternoon.

The shooting took place at about 1 p.m. in Broad Street Books, Wesleyan University’s bookstore.

The victim said she didn’t know the shooter.