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Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2023 / 10:28 am (CNA).
The victim of Wednesday’s fatal shooting on the school’s Washington, DC campus was 25-year-old Maxwell Emerson of Crestwood, Kentucky, according to an update provided by University President Peter Kilpatrick.
Emerson was a social studies teacher at Oldham County High School in Kentucky and was not a student or member of the faculty, Kilpatrick said. Police are offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the shooter, which the department offers for all homicide investigations.
At about 8 a.m. on July 5, two men walked onto the school’s campus from Michigan Avenue and got into an altercation, Kilpatrick said. One of the men, who has not yet been publicly identified, shot the other man, Emerson, in the plaza in front of Father O’Connell Hall, and fled on foot.
Police believe that the two men knew each other, Kilpatrick noted. The university’s Department of Public Safety and emergency services that were called to the scene provided first aid, but Emerson died at a local hospital from the injuries.
“While we thank God no campus community members were hurt in this incident, we pray for the individual who senselessly lost his life,” Kilpatrick said in the statement. “Every human life is made in the image and likeness of God, and we pray for the end of such violence and to help build up a culture that treasures all life.”
Kilpatrick noted that the campus community was not in danger and scheduled classes went on as usual. He added that Campus Ministry, the Counseling Center, and the Office of the Dean of Students are available to support the university community if anyone needs counseling.
“We are a safe campus but we are not immune from the impacts of violence,” Kilpatrick said. “I can assure you that we are vigilant and prepared to reduce our vulnerability to violence and to keep our community as safe as possible.”
During the noon Mass on campus on Wednesday, Director of Campus Ministry Father Aquinas Guilbeau prayed for the repose of Emerson’s soul. Campus Ministry also held a prayer service at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in front of O’Connell Hall.
Kilpatrick encouraged the community to report suspicious individuals to the Department of Public Safety and call 9-1-1 to report crimes that occur away from campus. He added that people should not confront anyone who is suspicious and should avoid a person if he or she makes them uneasy.
“I extend my heartfelt thanks to our Department of Public Safety and the Metropolitan Police Department,” Kilpatrick said. “Along with other members of the University staff, they handled the situation calmly and skillfully.”