Towson University shooting: One student, two others injured early Saturday, officials say

A Towson University student and two other people were shot during a party that drew hundreds of people early Saturday morning on the Baltimore County campus, police and school officials said.

The female student and the two other injured adults, who were not affiliated with the university, sustained non life-threatening injuries, the authorities said. All were taken to hospitals, where the Towson student was in stable condition and recovering with her family Saturday morning.


Officials have provided few details about what preceded the shooting, though images from social media depicted a large outdoor party in the heart of the university’s academic facilities Friday night. It’s been less than a week since students returned to campus, many for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Baltimore County police officers arrived at the Towson campus around 2 a.m. in response to reports of a shooting, Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said at a news conference Saturday morning.


University President Kim Schatzel said in a statement Saturday night she and Vice President for Student Affairs Vernon Hurte visited the injured Towson student at the hospital Saturday morning, reporting the student was “in good spirits” and “looking forward to a full recovery very soon.”

Schatzel said university leaders “will be reviewing our policies, practices and procedures to ensure that TU remains one of the safest campuses in the nation, and that incidents like what transpired early Saturday morning do not happen again.”

Towson spokesman Sean Welsh said the shooting occurred at a gathering not sanctioned by the school at Freedom Square, the “academic core of our campus,” where students are known to congregate.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, Welsh said university police officers arrived at the scene of the shooting within one minute and immediately notified county police.

“Campus police officers are constantly monitoring the campus via foot patrols,” Welsh said. “TUPD did not observe any criminal activity until the shooting took place.”

In the square, police officers and detectives processed evidence Saturday morning. Yellow crime scene tape cordoned off the area, shielding the remnants of a college party. Near a “Welcome Back” sign, liquor and wine bottles, red disposable cups, loose shoes and hats were strewn about with trash.

Photos and video posted to social media showed what appeared to be a large group revelers gathered in the corridor underneath Lecture Hall. Music was blaring from a DJ booth and people were dancing and shouting shoulder-to-shoulder. Holding a microphone, a rapper performed for the crowd.

The back-to-school college party was planned for a venue in Baltimore called Cellar 2, according to one of the promoters, who did not wish to be identified. Representatives from the venue did not return multiple messages seeking comment.


Baltimore Police began receiving calls about 9 p.m. for loud music and disorderly conduct at the venue, which is in the 7000 block of Harford Road, said spokeswoman Det. Chakia Fennoy.

As police shut it down, “many students started saying let’s go to Freedom Square,” the promoter said.

Schatzel and Hurte sent an email to students around 7 a.m., briefing the campus about the shooting and urging students to stay away from the academic part of the university. They said university officials are working closely with Baltimore County police and making counseling available to students.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, whose district encompasses Towson, said he was in contact with Schatzel’s office all morning.

“It’s certainly alarming and demands a full investigation,” Marks said. “I would hope that any group that was involved in this would not be allowed to have events on campus in the future.”

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said the county was committed to keeping all residents, including university students, safe.


“This act of violence on one of our college campuses is extremely troubling,” the Democrat said in a statement.

As students emerged from their dormitories Saturday, talk of the shooting reverberated.

“We were actually going to go to the gathering but we decided against it, thankfully,” said Jordan Baylin.

She and her friend Olivia Kroop, both 19-year-old sophomores, had heard about a party on the other side of campus; news travels swiftly on social media. It was the end of their first week on campus, as neither opted to attend in person last year due to the coronavirus, and it was already getting late.

Both woke up to text messages about the shooting. Towson University sent out campus alerts.


Freshman Jacob Rosenbloom, 18, was in a group of students who were walking around campus late Friday night. They passed Freedom Square around 1:30 a.m. Shortly thereafter, he said, videos from the party and shooting started circulating on Snapchat.

“It was a little freaky,” Rosenbloom said.

He’s always felt like the campus was safe.

“I’ll try to be safe,” Rosenbloom said. “We always walk in groups anyway. Maybe [I’ll] only go to school events, not random parties.”


Towson Student Government Association President Jordan DeVeaux addressed the shooting and student safety in a statement Saturday afternoon.

“We must acknowledge that Towson University is an open campus and not all off-campus guests share our commitment to safety and values of conflict resolution and de-escalation,” DeVaux said. “With that in mind, it is imperative that we abide by the policies in place for outdoor events.”

The university’s Campus Activities Board cancelled a pep rally scheduled ahead of Towson’s football game at Morgan State University and did not shuttle students from campus to the away game.

The shooting was unsettling for some college parents.

Breaking News Alerts

Breaking News Alerts

As it happens

Be informed of breaking news as it happens and notified about other don't-miss content with our free news alerts.

When Jill Maenner dropped her son Simon, 19, off at college for the first time Aug. 28, she said she pointed out the blue emergency light stations where students can call for help if they are under duress. As a parent, she said, it gave her a sense of security.

Then, she heard about the shooting. Her son is safe, but her confidence about his safety is now compromised.


“Knowing that this took place in the heart of campus, the quad, so to speak. … I have to wonder how you did not see this brewing? What kind of patrols does campus police have after hours? I mean, I know things are going to happen on college campuses, but in the heart?”

Patrick O’Grady woke up to a call from a fellow basketball coach in Reisterstown, telling him to check on his son, Connor, an 18-year-old freshman at Towson. Thoughts flowed into his mind. Was Connor safe?

Later in that morning, his son loaded laundry into their SUV as they prepared to spend the day together back home.

“I always thought the campus was safe,” O’Grady said, “but it makes you wonder.”