A shooting at Morgan State University’s homecoming celebration in Baltimore has left five people with non-threatening wounds and prompted an hours-long lockdown.
People on campus took shelter during a four-hour lockdown on Tuesday while police scouted rooms for suspects. In an “abundance of caution” the historically Black college cancelled classes scheduled for Wednesday.
Baltimore police officials said that the victims are aged between 18 and 22, four are male and one is female, while all but one victim is from MSU.
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Investigators did not know how many shooters were involved, Police Commissioner Richard Worley told reporters in a news conference early on Wednesday. The police have not released any information about suspects or announced any arrests.
Gunfire broke out as students were heading to a campus ball, shortly after the coronation of Mister and Miss Morgan State at the Murphy Fine Arts Center.
In an alert from the university, students were told to stay clear of the arts centre and Thurgood Marshall Hall where Worley said the shooting had occurred.
Police were alerted to the possibility of an active shooter on campus after they heard gunshots and several dorm windows shattered.
Worley said they followed protocols and ended the shelter-in-place order about 12:30am local time on Wednesday when SWAT officers cleared a building where a suspect may have run to, according to the Associated Press.
In a post on an X social media account, the FBI also announced that it had assisted the Baltimore police.
Officers with flashlights searched for evidence in the building that was encircled with yellow crime tape. Orange evidence markers were also placed on the ground in front of a building next to the dorm where the shooting occurred.
A helicopter was seen circling the campus and a police blockade was also placed at the south entrance, where parents gathered.
Soon after midnight, dozens of students in gowns started leaving shelter at the arts centre. Campus shuttle services were also resumed for the students to move around.
Founded in 1867, Morgan State University has about 9,000 students. It was bought by the state of Maryland in 1939 to provide more opportunities for Black citizens. The shooting took place during the university’s homecoming events.
Homecoming season in the United States is when universities and high schools around the country welcome back alumni to campus and community events. This tradition takes place between late September to early October every year and centres around college football games.
The university President David Wilson said he would hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday morning to decide whether to hold other events planned for the run-up to the school’s homecoming game, which is scheduled for Saturday, according to AP News.
“It is unfortunate that this tragedy happened here tonight,” he said. “By no means will it define who we are as a university.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott noted said the shooting indicates a need for national gun reforms.
“We have to deal with this issue nationally,” he said. “We have to get serious about guns.”