University Police’s investigation into the Oct. 14 stabbing death of Buffalo State College sophomore Tyler Lewis entered its second month Monday, with no suspects in custody.
But according to news reports from the last five years reviewed by The Spectrum, similar homicides and attempted murders at SUNY campuses were solved much more quickly, some in a matter of hours.
Binghamton University was rocked in 2018 by two on-campus murders that occurred within weeks of each other. Nursing student Haley Anderson went missing in early March of that year. Her friends, using the Find my Friends app to track her phone, found Anderson’s body in the apartment of fellow nursing student Orlando Tercero, according to CBS. Tercero, a dual citizen, had fled to Nicaragua sometime before Anderson’s body was found March 9 and was apprehended by Nicaraguan police March 13, according to Press Connects. He received a 30-year prison sentence, according to Spectrum News.
Freshman Joao Souza, an engineering student at BU, was fatally stabbed in his dorm room weeks later, according to The New York Times. Police took a suspect into custody weeks later.
Elizabeth Holmes, a 21-year-old SUNY Potsdam student, was shot and killed near the college’s Crane School of Music, allegedly by Michael Snow, according to North Country Public Radio. Snow was arrested and charged with murder a day later. He has pleaded not guilty to four charges, including second-degree murder.
Cases of attempted murder have resulted in relatively quick turnarounds, too. Buffalo State College student Isaiah Doyle allegedly fired gunshots on campus Sept. 29, 2019, according to The Buffalo News. No one was injured or killed. Doyle was arrested 18 days later on Oct. 17 and indicted on charges including second-degree attempted murder.
And most recently, a 19-year-old student was stabbed in a parking lot at Hudson Valley Community College on Nov. 3, according to The Times Union. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect fled campus but was arrested the same day, according to a statement from the college.
Only one murder or non-negligent murder was reported on a SUNY campus between 2019 and 2021 — a death at Buffalo State College in 2019 — according to Annual Security and Safety Reports from each SUNY institution. The Spectrum was unable to find any further information about that case.
Lewis was stabbed outside of UB’s Ellicott Complex Oct. 14. He was transported to Erie County Medical Center before dying of his wounds. University Police have identified a “person of interest” in connection with the case, who is described as a white male between the ages of 19 and 22 with light brown hair, a medium build and a height of approximately 5’5 to 5’9. He was wearing a yellow shirt, was covered in blood and had a “large diagonal laceration across his forehead.” Police have not announced any arrests.
University Police “continue to make progress” in their investigation into the stabbing, which “remains a top priority,” according to a UB statement from Friday.
“We are unable to disclose details without the risk of compromising the investigation,” UPD Chief of Police Chris Bartolomei said in a statement. “We are continuing to make progress, and I am confident that we will eventually be able to tell the family exactly what happened and who was involved. We are working closely with the Erie County District Attorney Office, and we will not disclose any information until the DA is prepared to do so.”
Forty-three murders and non-negligent manslaughters were reported on the campuses and properties of 5,930 higher education institutions in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. About 19.4 million students were enrolled in a higher education, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The “clearance rate” for homicides (the percentage of murders that are solved) in the U.S. was about 50% in 2020, according to The Marshall Project.
Grant Ashley is the managing editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley.