Frostburg State president to talk about shootings

Gibralter to address incident at planned open house

  • The Frostburg women's lacrosse team joins the school's basketball team on the field for a moment of silence before their game on Tuesday night. It was done in memory of Brandon Carroll, a Frostburg student-athlete from Waldorf, who was shot to death early Sunday morning following an off-campus party. Also wounded in the shooting was his teammate, Ellis Hartridge from Washington. The suspect in the shooting is 21-year-old Tyrone Brent Hall of Glen Burnie, who is also a student at Frostburg.
The Frostburg women's lacrosse team joins the school's… (Baltimore Sun photo by Doug…)
April 23, 2010|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Frostburg State University president Jonathan Gibralter will address the shootings that killed one student and injured another last Sunday morning when he talks to prospective students and their parents at an open house on campus Saturday.

Around 500 people are expected.

"I'll get in front of hundreds of people and say, ‘This is a safe campus, this is the safest campus in the whole University of Maryland system,'" Gibralter said his office Wednesday. "Just have to be honest, that this happened, it's the first incident of its kind that has happened [at the school] in 27 years."

Two basketball players were shot during a confrontation with another student at a house across the street from the campus around 4 a.m. Sunday. Brandon Carroll of Waldorf was killed and Ellis Hartridge Jr. of Washington was injured. Police arrested Tyrone Hall of Glen Burnie, who has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder. He is currently being held without bond in the Allegany County jail.

Carroll's death was the first fatality involving a Frostburg student on or near the campus since the body of a slain female student was found in a wooded area on the campus in 1983.

Gibralter, who has been at the school for four years, said that like many colleges across the country, Frostburg State has increased its on-campus security system since the Virginia Tech massacre claimed the lives of 32 students — including the shooter — three years ago.

The incident at Frostburg occurred within a couple of days of the anniversary of the shootings in Blacksburg.

"We have a lot of things in place, we have closed-circuit cable television all over campus, where we can monitor areas of the campus, we have over 150 cameras on this campus and more to come," Gibralter said. "We have a text-message alert system for emergency-type situations. We put messages up on Blackboard [a university website], we have a campus-wide siren system. We've invested a lot in making this a safer place because, after Virginia Tech, you don't know what's going to happen."

Gibralter said that he has spoken to many students since the shootings took place.

"I really wanted the students to get the message that they all have a responsibility to deal with anger and frustration in a different way," Gibralter said. "Some of the students I talked with today, I said, ‘You're going to be graduates of this university one day, and I would hope that you would want your institution to have a really positive reputation and not one that is tainted by the thoughts that this is a violent place. It's not a violent place. They need to understand that it's not me, it's them, it's their actions that will define this institution."

In the aftermath of the shootings, two students have formed an organization called "Increase The Peace – Stop The Violence." According to one its founders, freshman Ronald Williams of Capital Heights, it has already attracted more than 600 followers on its Facebook page.

"We want people to know that this is one of the safest schools in the country," Williams said Friday.

Williams, who has a private security company, said he was working at an on-campus party around the same time that Hall was removed from an off-campus party after an altercation with Patrice Britton, a former Frostburg State student. Britton had dated Hartridge until December when they each filed protective orders against each other. She also had some sort of relationship with Hall.

Williams said that his business partner, Joel Hunt, was at the private party when the altercation took place and told Williams that Carroll was also at the party. Williams said that he and Hunt heard about the shooting shortly after it took place and, based on what Hunt recalled of the previous incident, Hunt "knew who did it."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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