Prince George’s County Police are searching for two people of interest in a shooting late Saturday that left seven people injured at a party inside a hotel room near the University of Maryland’s College Park campus.
The victims — all of whom are adults and do not attend the university — suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said Sunday. Five have been released from the hospital.
The motive for the shooting remains under investigation. Police released photos of two people of interest.
The University of Maryland Police Department announced Sunday night that they have no information at this point that any of the people shot the previous night are affiliated with the university.
Around 11 p.m. Saturday, police responded to The Hotel in the 7700 block of Baltimore Avenue for a shooting at a party in one of the hotel rooms.
Students Emily Garrett and Avery Strobel say they were on their way from their off-campus house to a Halloween party Saturday night when they saw police activity outside The Hotel. The 19-year-old friends from Bel Air did not know what to make of the situation when they saw the lights and sirens.
“It’s scary to think about,” Strobel, a general studies major, said. “That’s a lot of people.”
Garrett, a communications major, said she doesn’t generally feel unsafe. She said the university goes to significant lengths to keep students safe, including with the installation of emergency call boxes throughout the area.
The friends were among a steady flow of students and families who walked through the area on a dreary Sunday, some stopping for food at Potomac Pizza and Bagels ‘N Grinds at the base of The Hotel. Many said they had not heard much about the shooting but called it unsettling.
By the afternoon, there was no obvious police presence at The Hotel and no lingering evidence of a shooting from the lobby or perimeter of the property.
College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn called the shooting “distressing” and said his thoughts go out to everybody injured, and to their families. In these difficult times, he said, events like the one that took place on Halloween are even more tragic.
“I just hope that everyone pulls out OK,” he said.
Students Chloe Kafka and Tori Lanner walked past The Hotel on their way home to the dorms after brunch Sunday. They said they were taking photos in their Halloween costumes late Saturday when they got an alert from the University of Maryland Police Department that there was an off-campus shooting.
Kafka, an 18-year-old chemistry major from Boston, said she dismissed the alert after glancing at her email, because it did not convey the seriousness of the situation, including that multiple people were injured. A landmark like The Hotel would also have been helpful, because the street address alone didn’t signal to them how close the shooting was to campus.
If they would have had more details Saturday night, Lanner, 18, a communications major from Long Island, New York, said the friends would have had more information before making their decision to venture out.
David Morin, a 19-year-old computer science major from Howard County, said Saturday’s shooting is the second in recent weeks near his apartment off Baltimore Avenue. A man was killed last month in the 4800 block of Berwyn House Road.
“It’s definitely scary,” said Morin, who walked a friend home Sunday afternoon.
“We should be safe and not travel alone at night.”
Dan Alpert, a senior marketing major at the university and president of its Student Government Association, said he was sleeping in his on-campus apartment when the shooting took place. He awoke at around 12:30 a.m. to see the notifications from the university’s police department on his phone. He immediately began texting student leaders to see what they knew.
He says perception of criminal activity in College Park is often higher among students than the actual amount of crime that takes place. According to statistics from the university’s police department, a handful of aggravated assaults and robberies are typically reported each year.
Still, he says it’s important that students recognize that their safety is a priority at the university.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked call Prince George’s County Police 301-699-2601. To remain anonymous, call Crime Solves at 1-866-411-TIPS.
Baltimore Sun reporters Yvonne Wenger and Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.
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