A man suspected of killing a Wesleyan University junior may be targeting the university and its Jewish population, Middletown, Connecticut, police said Thursday.
Police have launched a nationwide search for Stephen Morgan, 29, who is suspected of killing Johanna Justin-Jinich. The young woman was shot and killed Wednesday at a bookstore in Middletown near the Wesleyan campus, police said. “Evidence uncovered overnight suggests that Mr. Morgan may be focused on the Wesleyan community campus as well as the Jewish community,” said Middletown Police Chief Lynn Baldoni, who did not elaborate. A statement from the university alleges that Morgan had written threats against “Wesleyan and/or its Jewish students.” While Justin-Jinich is a student at Wesleyan and is Jewish, there was another connection between her and her alleged killer, authorities said. In July 2007, Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint against Morgan while the two were both taking the same six-week summer course at New York University, NYU spokesman John Beckman told CNN. Watch how victim and alleged shooter knew each other » The complaint, in which Justin-Jinich said she was receiving harassing e-mails and phone calls from Morgan, was filed with the university’s public safety department toward the end of the course, Beckman said. The public safety department brought in the New York Police Department, and after conversations with Morgan and Justin-Jinich, she declined to follow up or press charges, Beckman said. Beckman said the two did not live in the same student residence houses during the course. Additional details were not immediately available. Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said a connection between Morgan and Justin-Jinich “at least goes back to New York two years ago,” but may “go back to Colorado.” No further details were available. Concern for the Wesleyan community and the Jewish community “developed out of evidence that the police may have gotten when they executed search warrants on his car, on the motel room he was staying in,” Giuliano said. “Something turned up that caused them to believe that there might be a threat beyond her or a threat to the larger communities she belonged to,” he said. Wesleyan University urged its students, who are finished with classes and getting ready for final exams, to stay inside. Watch officials call the shooting ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ »
However, Baldoni said investigators are not certain whether Morgan is still in the Middletown area. Middletown, in central Connecticut, has a population of about 48,000.