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College student gunned down

May 07, 2009|Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, CONN. — A gunman killed a Wesleyan University student while she worked at a popular bookstore near campus Wednesday before fleeing into the bustling downtown area, leaving his wig behind.

Police with assault rifles and dogs swarmed the streets looking for the suspect and asked Wesleyan students to stay indoors.

Later, authorities reassured residents that there was no threat to the public. But Wednesday night, police issued new warnings, telling residents and students to stay inside and be "extra vigilant."

Police identified the suspect as Stephen Morgan, 29. It was unclear where he lives, and a Wesleyan spokesman said Morgan had no known connection to the university.

Authorities released a surveillance photo taken inside the bookstore of a bearded man they think is Morgan, and they described him as armed and dangerous.

Police Lt. Margaret Liseo said evidence uncovered at the bookstore "heightened our level of concern," but she wouldn't say what the evidence was.

"We just want to get the message out there to be extra vigilant," she said. "This individual is armed and dangerous, and we want to be sure public safety is our top priority."

The victim was identified as Johanna Justin-Jinich of Timnath, Colo. She was working at the Red and Black Cafe inside Broad Street Books when the gunman shot her several times. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Justin-Jinich would have graduated next year from Wesleyan, a private liberal arts school in central Connecticut with about 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Authorities said there were several witnesses to the shooting, and police found a wig they said was used by the gunman and a weapon at the bookstore. Liseo said authorities hadn't confirmed that it was the weapon used in the shooting.

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