BINGHAMTON, New York (WABC) —
Police have charged a suspect in the deadly stabbing of a Binghamton University freshman who died Sunday.
Binghamton University police do not believe it was a random attack.
Joao Souza, an engineering student who graduated from Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, was identified as the victim. Authorities say he was attacked in Windham Hall, a campus residence hall.
Police say the suspect, 20-year-old Michael Roque, is a student at the school. He has been charged with second-degree murder.
Souza, a Brazilian-born exchange student, was a star player in the New York Soccer Club in Scarsdale. He graduated and moved away for college just last year.
“He’s probably the last person I would think of who would be confrontational or get into a fight,” said his coach Christian Gonzalez. “It’s really unimaginable what happened and we’re all heartbroken.”
Investigators spent all day Monday trying to piece together the bloody crime.
Sunday night, campus police responded to an assault call at the dorm and found Souza gravely wounded. He died at the hospital.
This is the second student to be murdered this school year at Binghamton University.
Hayley Anderson, of Westbury, Long Island, was found dead in an off-campus home in March.
University President Harvey Stenger issued the following letter to students and staff:
Dear Binghamton University Community,
I am deeply saddened to write to you regarding last night’s stabbing that led to the death of one of our students, Joao Souza, a 19-year-old freshman engineering student. The entire campus mourns for him. Our sympathies go out to his friends and family, as well as to his classmates and peers. A suspect is in custody. I thank our Binghamton University Police, New York State Police and the Broome County District Attorney’s office for their quick work in apprehending the individual as quickly as possible.
As president, my top priority is keeping everyone in our campus community safe. I want to reaffirm to you Binghamton University’s commitment to providing a safe learning environment. Unfortunately, we live in a time where violence is part of society, and, as a campus of 17,000+ students and several thousand faculty and staff, there are occasions where violence will intrude on our campus. We will continue to focus on keeping ours a safe campus, with a fully-empowered state law enforcement agency that works closely with the residential communities to protect life and property.
Part of fostering a safe campus involves quick, clear communication with the community. Over the past 18 hours we’ve sent a number of messages alerting parents, students and faculty and staff. However, to get the alerts, faculty and staff need to sign up for the service by going to https://www.getrave.com/login/binghamton and logging in or going to BU BRAIN in http://my.binghamton.edu to update B-Alert contact information.
Subscribers can add up to three email addresses and three cell phone numbers by clicking on “My Information” and updating their information under Emergency Alert Notification (Rave Mobile Safety).
This has been a very difficult semester for me and the entire campus with two student deaths in just a few weeks. These tragedies shake us to the core and we grieve together.
President Harvey G. Stenger
The Blind Brook School District, where Souza graduated from last year, also released a statement:
Dear Members of the Blind Brook Community,
I regret to inform you that Joao Souza, a Blind Brook Class of 2017 graduate and Binghamton University freshman engineering student, was stabbed to death late last night. The family has been notified and has requested privacy.
The crisis team at the Middle/High School has convened and a plan is in place to provide counseling to students and staff who may be in need. Should the need arise, students may contact their guidance counselor for assistance. The MS/HS school psychologist and social worker are also available to provide assistance. If you believe your child is in need of emotional support and concerned that they will not pursue assistance independently, please contact your child’s counselor directly.
Please remember Joao and his family in your prayers.
Superintendent of Schools
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