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Suspect Arrested After Music Student Is Gunned Down Outside Of NY Campus
Elizabeth Howell’s father has said he believes his daughter was in the “wrong place, wrong time” when she was fatally shot Friday night outside of the State University of New York at Potsdam campus.
A suspect has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a college music student, who was found lying along the side of the road with gunshot wounds outside of the State University of New York at Potsdam campus Friday.
Michael Snow, 31, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Elizabeth Howell; however, authorities are still trying to piece together what lead to the fatal shooting, according to New York State Police.
Howell was discovered Friday around 5:51 p.m. by Potsdam Police, who found the 21-year-old “lying on the side of the round with gunshot wounds.” The music major was taken to the Canton Potsdam Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Snow was arrested about 24 hours later at his home after neighbor Richard Gordon told local station WWNY that police burst through the door and took him into custody.
“It sounded like they were banging the door in. Then it sounded like a couple of flash-bangs that went off,” Gordon said. “It was a pretty scary thing.”
Beau Duffy, the director of public information for the New York State Police, told Oxygen.com that authorities don't believe Snow knew his victim.
"At this point, we have not found any connection between the victim and the suspect," he said.
Duffy declined to comment on a possible motive in the case or provide details about what Howell had been doing before the fatal shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
Howell's parents told The New York Post that they believe the attack on their daughter had been random.
“She was the type of person that didn’t have enemies, and certainly no one that would want to kill her,” her father, Joe Howell said. “As soon as they told us, we figured wrong place, wrong time.”
Howell, who had been in her senior year, was studying music education and was an accomplished cellist in the school’s Crane Symphony Orchestra. She also taught swimming lessons, had been a lifeguard and took ballet.
“She’s a wonderful young lady, a talented musician, a dear friend, an all-around great person,” her dad said. “She was always willing to help you out.”
Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, director of public relations at the university, told Oxygen.com that classes were canceled on Monday “in light of this tragedy, to give our students, faculty and staff time to grieve.”
Wilke said other memorial events are being planned for later this week and will continue throughout the semester.
SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Phil Neisser described the death in a letter to the community as “shocking” and remembered the impact the 21-year-old had made at the college. .
“She was an aspiring educator with a bright future ahead of her,” he said. “Together, we—as one united campus community—honor her life and mourn her loss.”
The New York State Police is still trying to piece together Snow’s movements the day of the fatal shooting and have asked that anyone who might have seen Snow’s gray Honda Civic, bearing license plate KVE2731, on Friday evening to contact authorities at (518) 873-2750.
According to police, Snow’s vehicle drove through Potsdam, Hopkinton, Malone, Westville, Hogansburg and Massena between 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
The death is being investigated by the New York State Police, Potsdam Police Department, University Police Department at SUNY, Saint Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Snow is currently being held at the St. Lawrence County Jail without bail, ABC News reports.