Binghamton stabbing victim a Blind Brook High School grad

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Binghamton University Chief of Police Timothy Faughnan provides updates on the fatal stabbing of Joao Souza at a news conference on the Vestal campus Monday, April 16, 2018.
Maggie Gilroy / Staff Video

Joao Souza, a 19-year-old Binghamton University freshman who had graduated from Blind Brook High School, was fatally stabbed Sunday night on the Binghamton campus.

Souza, an engineering student and star high school soccer player, died from what appeared to be knife wound injuries after being transported to Wilson Trauma Center, according to Timothy Faughnan, police chief at Binghamton University. The suspect remains at large.

Jonathan Ross, superintendent of the Blind Brook school district, confirmed to The Journal News/lohud.com that Souza graduated from the district’s high school last year, but could not comment further.

“Earlier this morning we located Mr. Souza’s parents in Brazil and university police and a member of the Dean of Students care team spoke with them directly,” said Brian Rose, the college’s vice president. “We feel incredible pain and sorrow but can’t even imagine their despair. The family has requested privacy for Joao and I ask you to respect their wishes.”

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Watch the full news conference from Binghamton University: Freshman student Joao Souza fatally stabbed on Vestal campus.

Sammy Landino, a fellow 2017 Blind Brook graduate now a freshman at Yale University, was one of Souza’s first friends in the district.

He and Souza were in 8th grade when Souza and his family moved to the area from Brazil. A middle-school guidance counselor asked Landino to show the new student around.

“I showed him the ropes and introduced him to people,” Landino said Monday. “He was a great guy, always smiling and cracking jokes.”

Landino, a theater standout at Blind Brook, said he wasn’t surprised that Souza joined the stage crew for their sophomore year production of “West Side Story.”

“The guy loved people and stage crew was a great way to meet others and be involved with the school,” Landino said.

When he thinks of his friend, Landino said, “I think of a great man, a stellar athlete, an all-around infectious guy who could always make you laugh and connect with you.”

The news of Souza’s death left Landino in shock.

“All of this senseless violence is just absolutely horrifying,” he said.

The stabbing allegedly took place in a suite in Windham Hall on Binghamton University’s campus around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday. Police said the suspect fled on foot and is described as a “light skinned male wearing dark pants and a dark hoodie.”

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The stabbing does not appear to be a random act, Binghamton spokesman Ryan Yarosh said in a statement Monday. The school also canceled classes for the day.

Investigators from multiple agencies interviewed people throughout the night. By mid-morning, police were methodically searching areas of the campus around Windham Hall.

Investigators have not disclosed circumstances surrounding Sunday’s stabbing, which marks the second homicide involving a Binghamton University student this year and the fourth homicide to occur in Broome County for 2018. Haley Anderson, 22, was killed at an Oak Street residence in Binghamton in March.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Binghamton University Police at 607-777-2393.

Another update from police is expected around 2 p.m.

Reporters Maggie Gilroy and Anthony Borrelli contributed to this story.

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