A stabbing, a shooting, and an uneasy relationship with the mentally ill haunts a city.
On May 6, 2009, a man walked into the Wesleyan University bookstore and fatally shot Johanna Justin-Jinich, a 21-year-old student. She, a girl he had been obsessed with ever since a friendly acquaintanceship turned sour two years earlier, was pronounced dead at Middlesex Hospital. Stephen Morgan, the shooter, was able to walk away from the scene.
The larger shooting spree that he had planned for the Wesleyan student body (he referred to it in his journal as "The Jewish Columbine") did not come to be, but for the day and a half that Morgan remained on the lam, we -- Justin-Jinich's classmates and peers -- remained on lockdown in our dorms. By the time he turned himself in, many of us, myself included, had fled campus.
Despite witnesses, security footage, and a spoken confession, Stephen Morgan was found not guilty of his crime, on the defense of insanity. Specifically, he is "delusional, psychotic and paranoid and" -- as we all learned that day -- "a danger to himself and society." Officially, he appears to have a schizoaffective disorder. As such, he now qualifies for intensive counseling and anti-psychotic medication, in the care of a team of psychiatrists and social workers, all of which he will be receiving while serving 60 years at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH), 1.4 miles away from the bookstore cafe where he shot and killed Justin-Jinich.
The following fall, the cafe had been remodeled, so as not to trigger the fractured psyches of the staff and students who had been present and themselves threatened. A framed rainbow PACE flag, taken from Justin-Jinich's dorm room wall, is now displayed in tribute behind the counter.