This story was updated at 6:05 p.m. Feb. 12, 2013.
Prince George’s police say a University of Maryland, College Park student believed to have killed one roommate and then himself Tuesday morning was mentally ill, and College Park and area officials question how a student with alleged mental illness legally purchased firearms.
Dayvon Maurice Green, 23, of College Park is suspected of killing roommate Stephen Alex Rane, 22, of Silver Spring and non-fatally shooting another student roommate outside their rental home in the 8700 block of 36th Avenue before turning the 9 mm handgun on himself in the backyard, according to police.
Police said Green had been suffering from a mental illness for the past year and was on medication, though they would not say specifically what type of illness or medication.
College Park Mayor Andy Fellows said the City Council will work with the university to see if the incident was preventable and questioned why Green had possession of weapons.
“I don’t know how that student had access to that weapon. I wonder how a person who’s clearly disturbed had access to a gun,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive way of approaching access to guns and mental illness. I’m really saddened by it.”
Police said they did not find a suicide letter or any premeditated plans, but found a bag of weapons next to Green’s body when they responded to the shooting around 1 a.m.
Inside the bag, detectives found a machete, baseball bat, a loaded semi-automatic Uzi and rounds of ammunition, police said. Next to Green’s body was also the 9 mm police say was the murder-suicide weapon.
County police said their investigation shows that Green legally purchased the 9 mm in Baltimore County in 2012. The second firearm, .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle Uzi was also bought legally from a gun store in Silver Spring on Jan. 18, according to police.
Rane was found in front of the house and Green was found in the backyard of their house, according to county police.
Police said early investigation indicates that Green set several small fires in the basement and backyard of the single-family home where the three UM students were roommates.
Julie Parker, a county police spokeswoman, said the two victims were awoken by the fires and left the home with Green to escape. Parker said the three agreed to find ways to put out the flames when one student noticed Green pull a handgun from his waistband and start shooting.
Green then shot the student as he was running away for help and shot Rane several times in front of the home. Rane, a UM undergraduate, was taken to a hospital where he died while the student who survived suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was in surgery Tuesday afternoon, police said.
His identity has not been released other than him being a 22-year-old undergraduate student at UM.
Green was previously an undergraduate at Morgan State University and most recently a graduate student at UM studying engineering.
Blood stains were seen on the pavement outside the roommates’ home Tuesday morning.
Frank Keeler, 60, lives several houses away from the scene and said his wife heard gunshots overnight.
“They were trying to save this guy’s life like all get out. They had his shirt ripped open and were tending to CPR,” Keeler said.
Many neighbors were unanimous in saying there were 10 shots fired.
“This is definitely out of line with stuff that’s been going on. There have been a lot of armed robberies lately, but this just isn’t in line with that. It’s like a freak event,” said Paul Rowe, 22, a senior at the university who lives across the street from the scene.
UM Police Chief David Mitchell said there had been five armed robberies in College Park in the last two weeks, but none appear to be related to Tuesday’s shooting.
Other UM students living on 36th Avenue said they had never met the roommates involved, but they appeared to be “pretty friendly guys.”
Maj. Marc Limansky, a UM police spokesman, said the neighborhood where the shooting took place is off campus but the houses are occupied by a mixture of students and long-term residents and university police are hoping to gain jurisdiction of the area, which is currently only patrolled by county police.
University Police Chief David Mitchell said there were no known indications that Green was a threat to others, though he did say as police investigate they may discover signs.
“The lesson here is that it’s a God-awful tragedy involving a man with a bright future,” Mitchell said. “Today is a day for prayer, tomorrow is a day for action.”
Prince George’s County Councilman Eric Olson (D-Dist. 3) of College Park said he expects the circumstances of the incident to play a part in the countywide and statewide debate over gun control.
“Obviously, any offense with a gun is horrendous and any murder is horrendous,” Olson said. “I’m sure this will become a part of the [gun control] debate. It’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t.”
UM President Wallace Loh said he was not previously aware of Green’s medical condition and did not know of any previous incidents on- or off-campus involving Green. He said he is focused on offering condolences to the family and grieving with the campus community.
“This is a tragedy. This is a great tragedy for the university and for the entire community,” he said in front of the 36 Avenue home Tuesday afternoon. “This is one of the most horrific things that can happen in a learning community.”
A memorial service for the deceased students is set for 7 p.m. today at the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel.