A Morgan State University student who aspired to become a police officer was fatally stabbed about a mile north of campus in Northeast Baltimore, city police said.
Marcus Edwards, 21, was found Monday night in the crosswalk of a busy intersection at Loch Raven Boulevard and Woodbourne Avenue. He had been stabbed in the chest.
He is the second Morgan student to be fatally stabbed near campus in the past year. Gerald Williams, 20, of Bowie was stabbed in February inside a gated off-campus student housing complex called Morgan View after a basketball game on campus.
On Tuesday morning, homicide detectives and police recruits canvassed the neighborhood to identify possible witnesses or find evidence. Detectives have not identified a suspect or motive.
"At this time, there's nothing that points us to any reason that someone would have killed him," said T.J. Smith, a Baltimore police spokesman.
Smith asked for any witnesses who might have seen the attack as they drove past the intersection, or neighbors who might have seen something suspicious, to talk to investigators.
"We need people to come forward and help us out," Smith said. "We don't know what the motive in this was. At this time, we cannot rule out robbery. There doesn't appear there was any major confrontation prior to this."
No weapon was recovered from the scene, he said.
"Unfortunately, not even our school community is immune to some of the violence that we are experiencing," Smith said.
At a previously scheduled town hall meeting on campus Tuesday night, Morgan President David Wilson told students that the university would explore providing shuttles to and from some of the apartment buildings near where Edwards was killed. He said officials also would look into whether to add a security wall around campus.
"We're still going to be an urban university, committed to serving the needs of our city," Wilson said. "But we have a responsibility to the safety of our students."
Wilson said the death was like "losing my own son," and university officials led dozens of students in prayer as they projected a picture of Edwards' face onto a large screen.
Students at the forum pressed Wilson on safety improvements, which some said they weren't seeing.
"How can you ask for donations when some students aren't even making it to graduation?" said Ja'Von Hill, a 22-year-old journalism major from Upper Marlboro, referring to Wilson's call during the forum for students to donate to the university after they graduate.
Edwards' mother, Nicole Ausberry-Brooks, said her son "had an infectious spirit," and "not a mean bone in his body. He was perfect. He was a perfect child."
After graduating from high school in 2013, he attended Kentucky State University but transferred to Morgan to be closer to family, his mother and aunt said.
"We were really happy because it was where he wanted to be. We were happy to have him here," said his aunt, Lisa Monroe.
Since a young age, Edwards wanted to be a detective, his mother said.
"It was all he dreamed about since he was a little boy," Ausberry-Brooks said. "He loved to help people, he wanted to work with kids."
His aunt said he studied social work to help him handle different situations he might face as a police officer.
His mother said he had attended the Junior Police Academy with the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C., and for the past four years would participate in ride-alongs and volunteer to do odd jobs for the department.
"He was working very hard. He's the oldest of six kids and wanted to be an example," his mother said.
In the summer, he did administrative work for the U.S. Department of the Treasury and worked part-time at a Chipotle restaurant.
He was also very active in his church, Judah Temple AME Zion in Prince George's County, where he volunteered in the Christian education department and would travel every year for church conferences, his mother and aunt said.
Monroe said the family last heard from Edwards on Monday afternoon when he called to check on his grandmother. Monroe said she was with her mother during the call and joked that he had not called to check on her too, but he quickly reassured her
"I am checking on you too auntie," he told her, she recalled. "He was just a tremendous kid. I am missing him tremendously."
On campus, Edwards organized events for the campus group SMOOTH, which stands for Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard-work.
"He always wanted to be a part of something," said Dwight Flowers, a Morgan graduate who started the leadership and volunteer group and remains involved. "Marcus was one of those vibrant people. He made everyone feel comfortable."
Chinedu Nwokeafor, a friend of Edwards' and a fellow Morgan student, described him as "really smart, really funny, a loving guy," he said. "He wouldn't hurt a fly."
Flowers said Edwards' death is another blow to Morgan after February's fatal stabbing.
"Morgan has been through a lot," he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Homicide detectives, at 410-396-2100 or text a tip to 443-902-4824, the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line, at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this article.