The suspect in the shooting of a Wesleyan University student will be arraigned Friday morning after surrendering to police without incident Thursday evening in neighboring Meriden, authorities said.
Stephen Morgan has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Johanna Justin-Jinich at a Middletown bookstore on Wednesday and is being held on a $10 million bond, Middletown Chief Lynn Baldoni said. Morgan turned himself in at the Meriden Police Department at 9:14 p.m., according to Baldoni, and was transferred to Middletown. Police spoke briefly to Morgan immediately after the shooting, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday. He was one of several people who gathered Wednesday afternoon outside Broad Street Books after the Wesleyan junior was shot to death in the bookstore’s cafe, the source said. Morgan gave his name to investigators who spoke with him, the source said. At that early stage of the investigation, the source said, police had no reason to suspect Morgan. Earlier, Morgan’s sister urged him to turn himself in to “avoid any further bloodshed.” “Steve, turn yourself in right now to any law-enforcement agency, wherever you are, to avoid any further bloodshed,” Diana Morgan said through the news media. “We love you, we will support you in every way and we don’t want anyone else to get hurt.” Police told the community and university on Thursday that Morgan might have been targeting Wesleyan University and the town’s Jewish residents. “Evidence uncovered overnight suggests that Mr. Morgan may be focused on the Wesleyan community campus as well as the Jewish community,” said Baldoni, who did not elaborate. A statement from the university alleged that Morgan had written threats against “Wesleyan and/or its Jewish students” in his personal journals. Justin-Jinich was a student at Wesleyan and was Jewish, according to the Middletown mayor, but there was another connection between her and her alleged killer, authorities said.
AC360: Gunman, victim knew each other
WFTS: Gunman threatened students, Jews
In July 2007, the woman filed a harassment complaint against Morgan while the two were taking the same six-week summer course at New York University, school spokesman John Beckman told CNN. 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, the woman declined to follow up or press charges, Beckman said. Beckman said the two were not living in the same student residence house during the course. Additional details were not immediately available. Another law enforcement source also told CNN that in one of the e-mails sent to Justin-Jinich, Morgan wrote, “You’re going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can’t take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna.” Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said the connection between Morgan and Justin-Jinich may “go back to Colorado.” No further details were available. Watch how suspect and victim knew each other » 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.” Before Morgan was arrested, Wesleyan University urged its students, who are finished with classes and getting ready for final exams, to stay inside. Justin-Jinich was shot Wednesday afternoon at the Red & Black Cafe, in Broad Street Books, the campus bookstore, the university said. She worked at the cafe, the cafe said on its Web site. It said her killing had left employees “devastated.” Down the street, Congregation Adath Israel, Middletown’s lone synagogue, canceled all activities for the next day, said its president, Eliot Meadow. Watch the crime described as ‘every parent’s nightmare’ » He said police told him that they do not think Morgan is part of a larger anti-Semitic organization.
About 200 families attend the synagogue, Meadow said, and he added that Wesleyan, a private university with about 3,000 students, has a substantial Jewish population. Middletown is a central Connecticut city with a population of about 48,000.