Hundreds gathered in the University of Maryland's Memorial Chapel Tuesday night for a vigil honoring the victims of an off-campus murder-suicide that took place earlier in the day.
Police say engineering graduate student , shot two of his roomates in the 8700 block of 36th Ave. before taking his own life.
Stephen Alex Rane, a 22-year-old senior English major, died of his wounds, while a second undergraduate roommate suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The service included speeches, prayers, and music and emphasized the importance of community.
University President Wallace Loh said that while there are lessons to be learned, policy questions to be discussed, and changes to be made, he wanted to keep the focus of the memorial on the victims.
“Many are asking what do we need to do to change,” Loh said. “But tonight is a moment for solidarity.”
Loh mentioned that there are a number of resources that students can turn to in order to seek comfort, including the Counseling Center in Shoemaker Hall and Mental Health Services in the University Health Center.
“Tonight, each of us seeks to ease our pain,” Loh said. “How can we make sense of an act so utterly senseless, especially when it comes from one of our own?”
Samantha Zwerling, president of the University of Maryland Student Government Association, said that it is a sign of strength to ask for help in such a trying time.
“I come here to tell you that it’s okay not to feel okay and that sometimes we must lean on each other when we experience the unexplainable,” Zwerling said. “My heart goes out to the families and friends of those involved, and I hope that the UMD family will be a source of support. We cry, we mourn, we are one community.”
Victor Osnos, a senior physiology and neurobiology double major, knew Stephen Rane.
“I will remember Stephen for his wry and witty sense of humor,” Osnos said. “While reserved at times, he was extremely friendly and funny once you got to know him. He was a creative and unique individual who will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
Senior sociology major Foyeke Akinwande did not know the victims but still came to the vigil to be there for the university community.
“It’s such a sad event that happened to our community,” Akinwande said. “We need to make sure to pray for the victims and for the families of the victims.”
Junior broadcast journalism major Aria Chehreghani felt the same way.
“It’s a tragic thing,” he said. “You hear about robberies all the time, but you hardly ever hear about murder. As a Terp, I felt like it was my obligation to pay my respects.”