May 7th, 2009
01:41 PM ET

Killer targeting Jewish students?


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/07/art.crime.surveillance.wesleyan.jpg caption="Surveillance video at Wesleyan University bookstore captures gunman who killed student Johanna Justin-Jinich."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/07/art.crime.wesleyan.victim.jpg caption="Wesleyan student Johanna Justin-Jinich was killed in a Wesleyan University bookstore on Wednesday."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The image is clear and chilling. On the frame from a surveillance tape, we see a bearded man in glasses. He has receding hair and appears to be wearing dark clothing. There is also no doubt what he is holding in his hand: a gun. And police say that gun was used to kill a popular student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, which right now is on lockdown.

The victim’s name is Johanna Justin-Junich. The 22-year-old junior was working at the Red and Black Café in Middletown Wednesday when the suspect, 29-year-old Stephen Morgan, allegedly opened fire. Detectives say Morgan used a wig as a disguise and shot Justin-Junich several times at close range before fleeing. A massive manhunt is underway to find Morgan.

News of the homicide quickly reached the campus. The university’s web site continues to provide updates on the investigation while urging students and faculty members to be vigilant.

This notice was posted Thursday morning:

“The suspect in yesterday’s fatal shooting has not been apprehended. Based on the advice of local authorities, Wesleyan instructs all students to remain in their residences. Faculty and staff should not come to their offices unless otherwise instructed. We will be sending information soon in regard to food and other administrative services. Please remain cautious.”

Michael Roth, the school’s President offered his sympathy to the family of Johanna Justin-Jinich. He also released a statement:

“A beloved member of our community has been brutally murdered. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of Johanna Justin-Jinich. This is a tragic time for them, and for all of us in the Wesleyan community. We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this event.”

Late this morning, Roth shared more information from the police. Here's what told the Wesleyan community:

"We have been informed by Middletown Police of new evidence about the suspect in yesterday’s shooting. Although he apparently had a direct link to the victim but no other connection to the Wesleyan community, we have now been made aware that he expressed threats in his personal journals toward Wesleyan and/or its Jewish students. All students are urged to remain vigilant and to stay indoors. Additional security has been deployed accordingly.

We will continue to work with authorities to ensure the safety of students on campus, and there will be increased patrols by Wesleyan Public Safety Officers and Middletown Police. At this time we continue to believe that the safest place for students is in their residences and we will provide additional information as it becomes available."

There are two Facebook profiles for Johanna Justin-Junich. One appears to be her personal page. It is private. But there is another one in her name. And it is to mourn and remember her. Among the messages, one offering a prayer for her family. Contact the police if you have any information on the suspect.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. victor

    I believe it is time to remove violent movies from TV and theaters, because they teach children that violence is OK to solve your problems, and the hero is the one who pulls the gun at the right moment and solves all his problem with a few quick shots and dead bodies.

    We can show people killed without remorse, however we can't show even married couples making love or the human body. It is like society is giving in for the drug or violence in "entertainment" and hides from responsibility behind "freedom of expression".

    Showing violence for 4hrs a day to children will make some of them very violent. Dahhh

    May 8, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  2. blaylock

    Just wondering when this country will go back to the days of firing squad or other means when someone kills. These killers should have no mercy, no rights they should be done the same way that they did when they took matters in their own hands. But on earth they are getting away with it but I know and while I read my Bible as soon as they close their eyes God Has a place for them and there is plenty of room down yonder. God Bless the families of these victims. God bless the humans you have put on this perfect earth that you made.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  3. Scott

    had trouble getting to the office this morning. All 3 local news have media trucks out there. NBC has a truck out there also.

    May 8, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  4. Wood

    Again, how could this guy get a gun? When are we going to tighten up rules that allow this nuts to get guns and act out the stuff going on in their heads that is perpetrated on the Internet, Cable TV and in their bizarre minds!!

    May 8, 2009 at 5:11 am |
  5. Ed

    It's very sad. He's crazy. She dies.

    Better security? At a coffee shop? Come on. Tougher punishment? Wouldn't matter in a case like this. Maybe less hate speech? That might help but I'm not voting for that, no thanks, I like our Bill of Rights.

    May 8, 2009 at 4:40 am |
  6. Eric

    This man is definitely crazy. When is the government going to stop criminally insane psychotic people from buying guns?

    May 8, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  7. Bill

    Until you reduce/eliminate guns, this will go on. As long as the NRA remains as powerful as it is, guns will never be abolished. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. We keep going over this time and time again. Our society is no place for guns.
    I'd like someone from the NRA to explain and comfort the family of this victim.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  8. John W

    I knew Stephen and his family well. I grew up two houses down from the Morgans. Stephen came from a great family and the kind of neighborhood that you could leave your doors open and nothing but the screen door open to keep the bugs out at night in the summer. His parents were upstanding members of the community. It amazes me that someone can come from such privilege and then go on to commit such a senseless act of violence. This type of crime is certainly nothing new but seems to becoming common place. I fear that the time-out generation is entering society believing there are no consequences to their actions. I am glad to hear Steve turned himself in to police and didn’t hurt anyone else. My heart goes out the victim and her family.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  9. Angela M

    They found him. He turned himself in at 9:14pm in Meriden Ct.

    May 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  10. Lisa Chark-Kelowna, BC Canada

    Devastating news...My heart is heavy, and I pray for this lovely girl's family and friends. Gd bless all of you

    May 7, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  11. vanessa


    Hi! I get so angry when someone has to use a gun to end someone else's life! Once the killer has a gun, they have control and have power to do anything. Guns will always be around, unfortunately. Unless the 2nd Amendment "Right to Bear Arms" is revised! However, it appears that won't happen because as I type this people are against removing or revising the 2nd Amendment.

    We should all go back to using fists to fight!

    San Francisco

    May 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  12. Tammy, Berwick

    How horrible! My high school freshmen are finishing a unit on the Holocaust in literature, and they were shocked to realize that hate crimes against Jews still exist. It is so sad that we face the same insanity today on a different level. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this woman.

    May 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  13. GF, Los Angeles

    Apparently this guy stalked her so I'm not sure he hated Jews rather he probably got mad and killed her since she spurred him.

    May 7, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  14. Stacey

    People need to stop saying "what is this world coming to" and start saying "what has happened to this country?" We are the most violent first world nation. Period. This type of crime is very specific to the United States. We have to do something about gun violence. We must stop being soft on violent crime.

    May 7, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  15. Richard

    Why do you guys write these comments? What is the point? Get a life.

    May 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  16. CP

    May the Lord grant peace in the hearts of all those affected by this horrible event. In Jesus name I pray Amen.

    May 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  17. William Burt

    This despicable act drives home the fact that nowhere in this world is it safe any longer to be Jewish.

    May 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  18. cc pennes

    these HATE crimes are so sad and so scary and, i believe that we are seeing more HATE crimes, because there are people out there so full of HATE, like limbaugh, hannity, o'reilly, ingram, bachman, rove, i believe in FREE SPEECH, but these people should be stopped, because it encourages the 'CRAZIES" out there to perpetrate these horrific crimes!! !look at the SO CaLLED " joe the plummer" his horrible remarks ,"I WOULD NEVER LET QUEERS NEAR MY CHILDREN", it is hate spread by these people, either do not give them any "AIR TIME' ignore them ,,,perhaps they will go away,so many BAD, lies were said about OBAMA, LAURA INGRAM said they were TERRIORiST because they FIST BUMP she was immediately added to the FOX STAFF, BECAUSE FOX OWNERS AND THEIR STAFF (the hannity'S ETC.) PROMOTE HATE , THEY NEED TO BE STOPPED!!!!!!! AND the leader of the pack LIMBAUGH should be abolished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  19. Ed

    It is difficult for a normal person, and I consider myself normal, how an individual can build up so much hatred that it leads to something like this. I have no sympathy for anyone who is so intolerant of others because of their relgious beliefs or their ethnicity. When caught, may he rot in a cell for the rest of his normal life and be given ample time to remember and re-think what he has done. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family.

    May 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  20. gail deeds,canada

    Dear friends @ cnn! I was reading the news when I found out what happend in a Wesleyan University. My condolences to the parents of the killed young lady and all her friends and collegues. I hope the police will find the killer.
    Regards, Gail

    May 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  21. Tarunpreet Cheema

    It's time 4 america 2 watch killers but hold back at a position where only the killers are to be viewed and not a witch hunt to be created.

    May 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  22. joan

    CNN should be showing photos of this killer, the ones that show what he looks like so they can catch him quickly. The photos on the site are not helpful. It's been over 24 hours and they still don't have him, please spread the pictures of what he looks like so if anyone sees him they can call the police.

    May 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  23. jenny

    waht is this world coming to. its pretty sad that everytime i go online there is another tradgedy and it is always school shootings or just plain shooting . or people just gettting murdered by being in the wrong place at the wrong time . i feel bad for that girls family cause she aint going to get to graduate from college or get married and have kids her life was just takien like that just in seconds . and she probly never even see her life going to end so soon like that . my prayers and condolenses to the family of Johanna justin-junich . may she rest in peace in heaven an watch over the whole in tire family as their guardian angel from heaven.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  24. Judith

    What is wrong with men? Every day we read a story of a man killing his wife, ex-wife, or former girlfriend. Many times they even shoot their children and take their own lives. Is it the easy availability of handguns or just the propensity of frustrated men to resort to violence–or a combination of both? It's like there's a war on women and society does nothing about it.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  25. Mariann Pepitone

    I would never allow myself to hate any person of a different origin or religion and I hope the violence in this country will start to end. I am not Jewish but my late husband was laid out at a Jewish Funeral Home recommended by my son and I had no problem with that. I always liked the Jewish people and have worked for them in my early years. This man if full of hatred and would kill more Jewish students if they don't capture him. He is a very dangerous man who is on a rampage and needs to be caught a.s.a.p.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  26. Cameron CAUDLE

    What a pussy

    May 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  27. Ron

    Apparently another religious crazed person commiting murder. Haven't we noticed how often persons who are very religious in their family upbringing are turning into serial killers, etc. Somehow they go off their trolley when religion messes up their minds. Sad but true.
    Some of these people have been very much into their church organizations, such as being ushers or teachers. Then they go out and kill a bunch of people. I don't get it.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  28. Mariann Pepitone

    I cannot believe the hate for Jewish people in this country. It is a tradegy that a beautiful young girl has lost her life to gun fire. This man when caught should automatically receive the death penalty. It appears in some cases of murder the jurors take too long to decide the death penalty. In my opinion all murderers should receive the death penalty in every single state and not wait years to execute them. It should within a matter of 6 months. Why keep a criminal on death row for over 5 to 15 years then execute him as I have read. Life in prison is not the punishment because they are still living and enjoying eating, watching TV and out in the yard and the victim will never see daylight again. My prayers go out to the family of Johanna and hope that time will heal their wounds. I am aware that Johanna will always be in their hearts and minds.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  29. Jessica

    Pretty girl. Ugly guy. Hope he crawls into a hole and commits suicide.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  30. Brian

    Well thank god he will at least be expelled for violating the "Gun-free zone" on campus that seems to be working so well...

    May 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  31. Joel Marks

    When will all this madness stop?

    May 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  32. Sharon

    Obviously this individual is a racist and has a problem with Jews.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  33. Gordon

    It is all so sad. There is no other nation in the advanced world that experiences gun violence like the US. No other nation even comes close to the stats regarding people being killed or wounded by guns. Politicians won't talk about it because the NRA will destroy their careers if they do. The gun lobby is huge. The old movies we grew up on told us "shoot first and ask questions later". If anyone questions the American love affair with guns they're dismissed as socialists or trouble makers. If guns make the average person safer then the US should be the safest place on earth...unfortunately death by bullet is more likely than anywhere else.
    So we tell the students at Wesleyan to hide and stay indoors...how pathetic is that.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  34. Christopher Sanders

    A sibling of mine currently attends Wesleyan and this is extremely disturbing. Thoughts and prayers to everyone there...

    May 7, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  35. veronica

    this is ridiculous. all these schools and businesses should have some better security.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  36. Isha

    This is horrible, i could only imagine what Johanna was thinking those couple of seconds. it's scary how all these crimes are being committed in Universities and schools. Our children are only being put in harms way even more and more.

    May 7, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  37. Captain Gort

    So sad. I attribute this crime to these hate-spitting talk show personalities on both EXTREMES of the political spectrum. Its totally inflammatory and provokes marginally "sane" people to go over the edge. Alas, this is the inevitable collateral damage that comes with the 1st Amendment. We just have to accept that fact as a cost of our freedom. These freaks have the "right" to spit out this venom...and a few weirdos actually act on it. Of course, the "spitters" earn millions, the perps go to prison at enormous expense to the taxpayer... and the innocent victims

    May 7, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  38. Kathy Flanagan

    What is going on in this world! How senseless. My thoughts go out to the victims friends and family.

    May 7, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  39. cnunez

    this is so crazyyyy

    May 7, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  40. ChicaWest


    I am just wondering how many more shooting sprees, senseless murders, massacres and crime must take place for people to realize that we are living in a nation that is soft on crimes and the people who commit them?

    May 7, 2009 at 10:08 am |