1 Dead, 1 Injured After Altercation On University Campus Escalated To Double Shooting, Campus Lockdown

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John Oyewale Contributor
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An altercation on the campus of Worcester State University in central Massachusetts early Saturday spiralled into a shooting incident injuring two people — one of whom later died — and triggering a seven-hour campus-wide lockdown.

The incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. at a parking garage around Wasylean Hall and Sheehan Hall, the university said in a statement. Neither the two shooting victims nor the suspected shooters were students of the university, per the statement. The university issued a shelter-in-place order, which was not lifted until 9:28 a.m. The university canceled all its on- and off-campus events — including homecoming and family weekend — and provided counseling services, the statement noted.

“Preliminary investigation suggests the incident was the result of an altercation and was not an active shooter incident,” Dave Procopio, director of media communications for the Massachusetts State Police said, the Associated Press (AP) reported. (RELATED: Two Teenagers Injured In Late-Night Shooting On University Campus)

The incident was “a fight in progress,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said at a press briefing. “One of [the victims] has died, one went to surgery at a local hospital… This does not appear to be a random incident; the parties that were involved know each other,” he added but declined to mention names. He also requested the public to send information, especially videos.

Videos of the incident were posted to social media. In one of them, individuals could be seen brawling and, after shots were fired, one could be seen limping and shouting, “He shot me!” before falling to the ground.

The police arrested one suspect close to the scene and charged the suspect with trespassing and possession of a firearm, Worcester City Police Department Interim Chief Paul Saucier said at the press briefing. The police also recovered a firearm from the scene.

“Our first priority is the safety of our students, our community, our staff,” Worcester State University Police Department Chief Jason Kapurch said at the press briefing. Describing the incident as “tragic,” he added, “Right now, we believe that our campus is safe.”

A multi-agency investigation is underway, Early Jr. said.

Update: Kevin Rodriguez, 18, of Lawrence, Massachusetts (MA), was indicted in connection with the shootings and will be arraigned before the Worcester Superior Court on Jan. 12, 2024, the Massachusetts State Police said Dec. 12, 2023. Richard Nieves, 19, of Spencer, MA, is reportedly accused of shooting the surviving victim, who is now a paraplegic. Both Nieves and Kenneth Doelter, 20, of Southbridge, MA, are accused of robbing the surviving victim and will appear in court at a later date.