Binghamton University student arrested in stabbing death of freshman Joao Souza
Binghamton University announced early Monday the 19-year-old student, who was in his first academic year, died as a result of his injury.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The suspect in 19-year-old Binghamton University student Joao Souza's stabbing death remained at large until late Monday afternoon, when law enforcement officials announced his capture.
Although the identity of the suspect remained undisclosed during a 5 p.m. press conference, Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell said the suspect is also a BU student.
The suspect was being held on campus, Cornwell said Monday, and criminal charges were anticipated.
Souza, a freshman engineering student at BU, was stabbed Sunday night at Windham Hall on BU's campus, taken to UHS Wilson Medical Center, and pronounced deceased around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
The suspect fled after the killing according to an alert posted on the university's website. Police described him as a "light skinned male wearing dark pants and a dark hoodie."
Investigators interviewed witnesses overnight. BU's campus became the center of an intensive search Monday by police, Forest Rangers and other emergency responders working amid sporadic rainfall and intense winds Monday — classes were canceled for the day.
Authorities declined to say what, if any evidence, was uncovered as a result of search efforts. The location of the suspect's capture was also not disclosed.
The investigation remained ongoing Monday night.
"We feel incredible pain and sorrow, we can't even imagine their despair," said Brian Rose, vice president of Student Affairs, during a Monday news conference.
On Monday, university officials were able to contact Souza's parents in Brazil, to deliver the news of his death.
According to The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News, Souza graduated from Blind Brooke-Rye Union Free School District in Rye Brook, N.Y., last year and was a star soccer player.
Jonathan Ross, superintendent of the Blind Brook school district, confirmed to paper that Souza graduated from the district's high school last year, but could not comment further.
Conrad Taylor, 21, a December Binghamton University graduate who also serves on the Binghamton City Council, described this tragedy as heartbreaking — a disgusting crime.
“As someone who was a student until a few months ago, and someone who is still a part of the BU community, it’s tough to hear about something like this happening on campus,” said Taylor. “We’re an incredible community here at Binghamton, but we’ve faced tragedy and hardship before in different ways, and we’ve stuck together and stood by each other. I’m absolutely sure we’ll do that again.”
In a statement Monday, Marc J. Cohen, State University of New York Student Assembly president and SUNY trustee, said, "The thoughts of all SUNY students are with the Binghamton University family today. The Student Assembly is committed to ensuring no student need fear for their safety while furthering their education. We have every confidence that campus and community law enforcement will ensure that justice is served."
Sunday's stabbing marks the second homicide involving a Binghamton University student this year and the fourth homicide to occur in Broome County, N.Y., for 2018. Haley Anderson, 22, was killed at an Oak Street residence in Binghamton in March.
In December 2009, Richard T. Antoun, an emeritus professor of anthropology, was stabbed to death on campus by a graduate student.
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger described the two homicides as devastating losses.
"The last two months have been very, very difficult," an emotional Stenger said at Monday's news conference. "You can understand how difficult it must be for parents and for friends. You want to do anything you can to help them through these times."
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger responds the day after the April 15, 2018 stabbing death of Joao Souza. Souza is the second Binghamton University student to be killed since March. Maggie Gilroy / Staff video