Classes were canceled Monday at popular SUNY school Binghamton University, following the killing of 19 year-old freshman Joao Souza late Sunday night, the second student death in five weeks. The engineering student graduated last year from Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, and was a native of Brazil, where his family has reportedly been notified.
According to a campus-wide alert sent out at 11:14 p.m., Souza was fatally stabbed in his Windham Hall dorm suite in the campus’ Mountainview community. Emergency responders found the victim “seriously injured from what appeared to be stab wounds from a knife.” Souza was taken to the nearby United Health Services Wilson Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The university “B-Alert” advised students to remain indoors and avoid the area, providing a description of the suspect who had fled the scene on foot. Campus police later released photos of the suspect and stated they did not believe the attack was random.
A manhunt over the following 20 hours culminated with the arrest of the suspect, Michael Roque, in his dorm room Monday afternoon. The twenty year-old Massapequa native was held on campus before being transferred to Broome County Jail for arraignment. Timothy Faughnan, the university’s police chief said investigators believed Roque had targeted Mr. Souza intentionally, but would not describe what had led them to that conclusion.
Roque has been charged with second-degree murder and pled not guilty. He has been remanded without bail.
University President Harvey Stenger added, “I promise that we will learn from this tragedy, and I want to thank all those people who have worked so diligently over the last 20 hours to bring some closure to this horrible tragedy.”
“There is a suspect in custody, and we will have further information at an appropriate time,” said Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell at a press conference Monday night. “We are very limited in what we can provide today, but we believe that charges are imminent and I can’t really speak to any of the facts of the case other than that.”
“We are going to go over the last 20 hours, everything that happened, everything that we did, how we communicated with our population, with our community and see if there are ways we could’ve done it better.”