With Gunman in Custody, Wesleyan Students Begin to Grieve

With Gunman in Custody, Wesleyan Students Begin to Grieve

Middletown, CT

May 8, 2009

(lubavitch.com) After a tense 24 hours during which the Wesleyan University campus was under lockdown, students and faculty are venturing back onto campus grounds, relieved to learn that the gunman who shot and killed a fellow student Wednesday night, is now in police custody.

Stephen Morgan, the suspect in the case with no connection to the university, reportedly called police from a gas station in Meriden, Thursday night, where he waited for them to arrest him.

Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, Chabad representative to the campus and surrounding area, told lubavitch.com that his phones, which have not stopped ringing all day, went quiet after word got out that Morgan was arrested, a sign of relief amid sadness. Now that the fear, which gripped the campus and neighboring communities, is gone, everyone's beginning to focus on the tragedy, he explained.

“There’s a lot of sadness among the students, and those who knew the victim are simply devastated.”

21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich, a junior from Colorado, was shot by Morgan at a campus bookstore where she worked.

According to Wolvovsky, a vigil will be held for the victim on campus, Friday, at 1:00. No word as to funeral plans for Justin-Jinich, who is Jewish, have been disclosed.   

Chabad will also be on campus all day, said Wolvovsky, reaching out to students with opportunities to channel their grief and sadness into constructive acts and mitzvahs to honor the memory of Johanna.

“Everyone here’s been traumatized, and there’s a real need to connect with students at this time in a way that will be uplifting to them.”

“I think of what we need to do now  as ‘Operation Light.’” Wolvovsky has already made plans to set up a booth at the USDAN Center where he and some of his colleagues will be available all day Friday, to talk to students, share opportunities to do good, and distribute Shabbat candles—an especially meaningful mitzvah apropos of the tragedy, he explained.

“We’ll be there to talk to students about their feelings, about the soul, and about the difference they can make in choosing to make a commitment to do something good.”   

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