A woman who worked at the Penn State Beaver campus apparently was shot dead by her estranged husband in a university parking lot on Wednesday, and the man then killed himself, police said.
Multiple shots were fired just before 4 p.m. near a Penn State Beaver dining hall, where the woman worked, state police Lt. Eric Hermick told WTAE-TV. An officer heard the shots and lots of screaming and responded to the scene, where he found the woman and her estranged husband dead beside her car, he said.
Hermick said the husband apparently had lured the woman to the parking lot.
“There was a ruse set up to get her outside of her workplace,” Hermick told the news station.
Penn State Beaver, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, issued a 3:56 p.m. alert that shots were fired but said the situation was contained.
There was never a threat to the general campus population, Hermick said.
“I know there’s often panic about college campuses and talk about active shooters, but that’s not the situation,” he said. “It appears to be some type of domestic violence issue here.”
About 650 students attend the school, but not many were on campus because it’s finals week, Penn State Beaver spokeswoman April Johnston-Smith said. The campus was closed for the remainder of the day, she said.
“There was a tragic act of violence at Penn State Beaver this afternoon which did not involve students,” Penn State Beaver Chancellor Jenifer Cushman said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all who have been affected. Please know that the threat has ended, and that your safety and security remain our number one priority. Our campus police are vigilant.”
She also said students, faculty or staff can contact counseling services at 724-773-3961.
“Our entire Penn State community is profoundly saddened by the tragedy at the Beaver campus,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathies go to the victim’s family and friends during this very difficult time, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Beaver community. The security of our faculty, staff and students is our top concern.
“As we mourn this terrible loss, I want to remind members of the campus community that counselors are available to help those struggling to cope with this tragedy.”