Scholarship at Hopkins will honor slain student

Money to be awarded beginning next year

October 12, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

As detectives continue investigating the April killing of a Johns Hopkins University student, the dead man's family and friends have established a scholarship in his honor.

The scholarship honoring Christopher B. Elser is expected to be awarded for the first time next school year, university officials said. It will be bestowed annually on a Hopkins upperclassman in need of financial assistance.

The ideal candidate would share Elser's passion for athletics and his dedication to the community, according to Hopkins officials. Elser's friends and family will help select the winner each year.

So far, about $81,000 has been raised, Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said. The scholarship will be funded by interest earned on the endowment.

"It's the only way we could find to turn something absolutely terrible into a positive," said the student's father, Kip Elser, a 1973 Hopkins graduate.

The junior from South Carolina was stabbed about 5:45 a.m. April 17 inside the apartment building on the southwest corner of St. Paul and 30th streets.

In July, police said they had in custody a "person of interest" in the killing. Investigators said the man being detained fit the profile they were seeking - a lifelong criminal - and he also appeared to be the man caught on surveillance video taken near the scene.

But the unidentified man, who had been jailed on unrelated charges, has since been released from jail without being charged in Elser's killing, police said.

The knife attack on the 20-year-old student occurred about two hours after a party ended at the apartment house, which is rented by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Elser, 20, did not live in the building but had swapped rooms for the night with a fraternity brother who wanted to study in a quieter environment. The attacker apparently entered the three-story building through an unlocked or open back door.

The intruder entered the room where Elser was sleeping, and police believe that the student awoke and confronted the man. The assailant stabbed Elser in the chest and the left arm before escaping.

Elser went to the room next door, told a fraternity member that he had been attacked by a man, and then collapsed. He died the next day, and was the only person to see his attacker.

Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. Anyone with information about the man or the crime is asked to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888 or 866-756-2587 or city homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

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