2 shot at Worcester State University in Massachusetts overnight

One victim died after two people who are not affiliated with the university were shot in a parking lot between two student residence halls.

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One victim has died and another has been rushed into surgery after a shooting at a parking lot at Worcester State University in Massachusetts around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities said. Neither the victims nor the suspected assailants are students at the university, said a spokesperson for the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.

Worcester is about 40 miles west of Boston.

Officials at the university issued a shelter-in-place order shortly after the shooting; it was lifted just before 9:30 a.m. There is still a large police presence on campus.

"Students heard gunshots, and then an ambulance came and took the two individuals who were shot away," said Maureen Stokes, a communications official for the university. "At that point, police secured the area and determined at that time that there was no immediate threat to campus."

Massachusetts State Police said the two people who were injured were taken to UMass Medical Center. Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. confirmed that one of the two victims had died. He said that one person was taken into custody shortly after the shooting and that a firearm was recovered. That person is charged only with trespassing and firearms offenses.

Early said that the shooting does not appear to have been a random act and that it is believed all parties were known to one another.

The shooting occurred in a parking lot in the upper campus of the university, which is between the student dormitories Wasylean Hall and Sheehan Hall, Stokes said. The district attorney’s office urges anyone with information, photos or video around the dormitories to share it with Massachusetts State Police, university police and Worcester police.

Stokes said some students have already submitted videos to police after they heard gunfire from the dorms.

“Initially the students were just informed that an incident had occurred and to shelter in place, and I think reasonably a person would think the worst because of what happened in Maine within the last 72 hours,” she said.

Around 6,200 students are enrolled at the university. It has an open campus that is not locked or gated.

Early Saturday, the university announced that it had canceled homecoming, family weekend and all university events scheduled for Saturday. Stokes said university officials did not know what the outcome of the investigation would be or how long it would take. She said the university will not retract the cancellations, because by the time vendors would have come to set up, they could be overlapping with the police investigation.

State, university and city police continue to investigate.

"Once we lifted the shelter in place, students just wanted to be outside," Stokes said. "They're talking to a couple of officials who are around, counselors, and talking to the residential life students."