Baltimore County police arrest 19-year-old man in Towson University shooting

Editor’s note: Baltimore County prosecutors dropped attempted murder charges against Samuel Nnam on Oct. 8, 2021 after prosecutors said they don’t have direct evidence the teen pulled the trigger. He remains charged with two misdemeanor counts of handgun possession. The original story appears below.

Baltimore County Police said Tuesday they arrested a 19-year-old man who they allege shot himself and two others on Towson University’s campus early Saturday morning.


The suspect is Samuel Nnam, according to police. Nnam, who lives in Greenbelt, faces more than half a dozen charges, including attempted first-degree murder, assault and handgun violations, according to court records. He was ordered held without bond. Gary Bernstein, Nnam’s attorney, declined to comment.

The suspect is not the injured Towson student, who was released from the hospital Tuesday, said Joy Stewart, a county police spokeswoman.


The shooting at an informal gathering of hundreds of people at the heart of the campus scared students of the university and their parents, prompting questions about campus security.

Saturday’s gathering featured hundreds of revelers, a DJ and a musician, and left alcohol containers, disposable cups and other debris strewed about the university’s Freedom Square, located underneath Lecture Hall.

Videos of the party posted to social media showed a large crowd gathered in the square. Many held up their cellphones as a rapper performed near the DJ booth, from which cash was thrown in the air.

Charging documents for Nnam allege that Towson officers responded to the scene around 2 a.m. on Saturday when they found two gunshot victims. After another 911 call, Nnam was found by a stairwell on Union Bridge with a gunshot wound to his leg. All three were sent to local hospitals.

According to police documents, Nnam told police he couldn’t remember anything about the night, what happened, who he was with or how he got to the party.

Police documents allege that surveillance footage of the night shows three men, two of whom they believe to be Nnam and another one of the victims, walking across the courtyard over to an unknown person who police say Nnam hits in the head.

According to charging documents, the video then shows crowds scattering away from the men, showing a man, who police believe to be Nnam, lying in the center of the courtyard where police later found two spent bullet shell casings.

According to police analysis of the video, the man on the ground then reaches down the front of his pants to throw what police say is a gun away from him. Police say the video then shows someone else taking the gun and a purse before running away.


The man on the ground, who police say is Nnam, then makes a phone call before a group of people carries him in the direction of where Nnam was later found by police suffering from a gunshot wound.

The male victim who was seen walking with Nnam over to the man police say Nnam later hit, told police he was “very intoxicated” and could not give more information on the incident.

The third victim told officers she saw a large crowd pushing to get away from something but could not see what was going on before she was shot.

Towson officials said Tuesday they placed a veteran officer of the school’s Office of Public Safety on paid leave while investigating whether the officer followed procedures that night.

The suspension followed “an initial internal review,” according to a statement from Towson University President Kim Schatzel, Vernon Hurte, the vice president for student affairs, and Charles Herring, the university’s director of public safety.

In the statement, Schatzel, Hurte and Herring said they “look forward to [the injured student’s] return to class and campus,” while Schatzel and Hurte remain in close contact with her and her family.


All of the victims have now been released from the hospital. The suspect was taken into police custody after being discharged Tuesday, Stewart said.

All of the victims were described previously as “stable.”

University officials maintained after the shooting that university police “constantly” monitor the campus via foot patrols, saying public safety officers hadn’t witnessed any illegal behavior that night. They touted how quickly they responded to the shooting, within one minute, but did not explain how such a large event went seemingly undetected until gunshots rang out.

On Monday, officials said public safety officers would double foot patrols and increase their monitoring of unsanctioned events and “active engagement” with those who attend them.

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“We remain resolute that the safety of our community and campus is our top priority,” Schatzel, Hurte and Herring said. “As such, TU senior leadership continues to take action in response to this isolated incident.”

School officials said the Office of Public Safety continued to support an investigation led by the Baltimore County Police Department.


University leadership is exploring more ways to keep the outdoor areas of campus safe, Schatzel, Hurte and Herring said in the statement. The review includes assessing “access to the spaces and resources on campus, to monitoring of those spaces, to access to parking for non-affiliates.”

Authorities have said the party included people not associated with the university.

An organizer of the event said the party was planned for a venue in Baltimore; however, city police responded to the address for noise complaints and reports of disorderly conduct. After the party was shut down, the promoter said, it spontaneously moved to the campus.

Promoters billed the event as a back to school party, with students from any Baltimore-area college welcome, according to a post on the ticket sale site Eventbrite. It was free to those who arrived within the first 45 minutes.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.