SU Holds Vigil for Student Injured in Shooting - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

SU Holds Vigil for Student Injured in Shooting

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SU students raise their candles for injured student Kristen Loetz. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken) SU students raise their candles for injured student Kristen Loetz. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken)
SU students signing banner made for Kristen Loetz to be displayed in her hospital room. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken) SU students signing banner made for Kristen Loetz to be displayed in her hospital room. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken)
Law enforcement officials in Red Square for SU vigil. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken) Law enforcement officials in Red Square for SU vigil. (Photo: WBOC/Meg Hasken)

SALISBURY, Md.– Tuesday night's murder-suicide that left two men dead and a young woman injured weighs heavily on the hearts of the Salisbury University community.

The Wicomico Sheriff's Office said a preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect, identified as 21-year-old Ryan Justin Shallue of Stevensville, was a former boyfriend of the female victim and had traveled from Queen Anne's County to Salisbury that evening. Investigators said Shallue entered the back door of a home on Onley Road and got into an argument with his former girlfriend, identified as 20-year-old Kristen Renee Loetz, of Stevensville. Police said that is when another man, identified as 19-year-old Charles Jacob Abbott, of Hebron, attempted to intervene, at which time Shallue pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and opened fire on the victims before turning the gun on himself, committing suicide. Abbott also died in the shooting and Loetz was left in critical but stable condition.

The university held a vigil Wednesday night to help students cope with the tragedy. They remembered the lives lost and Loetz, an SU honors student majoring in nursing and a member of the Phi Mu sorority.

At the beginning of the vigil, SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach addressed the community with an update on Loetz's condition. She said Loetz is awake and expected to walk within a week. Dudley-Eshbach noted that although Loetz was unable to speak, she was given a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote down "I love you" to her mother.

Hundreds of students gathered on campus to share their memories and lean on another for support. Dozens of people who know Kristen Loetz and those who wanted to remember Abbott spoke at the vigil.

Bobby Spencer spoke on behalf of the ROTC program at SU. "This is amazing, this is absolutely amazing," Spencer said. "Kristen is the most joyous person you can possibly imagine."

Many at the vigil were calling Abbott, Loetz's guardian angel.

Ray Nordstrom was a former employer of Abbott and said he was one of his best employees with great potential.

"I have a son, who's a great guy but if I was to have another son, I'd want Charles as my son," Nordstrom said. "He was a delight to be around. Always positive, always willing to help people."

Numerous students shared their favorite moments with Loetz. Lauren Ochinero said she has known Loetz her whole life.

"She's the kindest person you'll ever know," Ochinero said. "She's very sweet, she's shy. She'll never come out of her shell until you ask her to and then she'll just blow up with joy."

The school has adopted the slogan "'Bury Strong" during this tough time.

If anyone needs to talk, SU's counseling center will be open on a walk-in basis.

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