Ryan Shallue has been identified as the man behind the Salisbury, Md., shooting that left former Salisbury University student Charles Abbott dead and student Kristen Loetz wounded before he turned the gun on himself.
The murder-suicide occurred around 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday and was believed to be a domestic violence incident, authorities told the Salisbury Daily Times. Shallue, 21, had an argument with Loetz, his 20-year-old ex-girlfriend, before the shooting unfolded. Abbott, 19, then tried to intervene when Shallue shot him and Loetz.
Abbott, a former student at Salisbury University, died at the scene while Loetz, an honors student and nursing major at the school, was in critical but stable condition Wednesday after being taken to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
Salisbury University students were notified of the shooting Tuesday night and were offered counseling services to those affected by the murder-suicide. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, the university’s president, called the shooting “tragic” and said the incident showed that domestic violence affects every community.
“Our prayers and condolences go out to the families and friends of those impacted by last evening’s tragic off-campus shooting. Sadly, relationship violence is a national issue, and our campus is not immune to it,” Dudley-Eshbach said in a statement posted noon Wednesday to the Salisbury University website.
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The university president said a vigil was scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the school’s Red Square.
“We hope the vigil will offer some comfort for the entire campus community. The university’s counseling center is open on a walk-in basis for those seeking support and guidance,” she said. “Let us hope for Kristen’s full recovery and healing for all the family members and friends of these three individuals. Relationship violence and societal violence in general are far too prevalent and are antithetical to the values and purpose of Salisbury University.”
Kristin Gay, a Salisbury University senior who lives on Onley Road across the street from the shooting, told the Daily Times she was discussing with her roommate how safe she believed the neighborhood to be when police cars arrived on the block.
“I didn’t even hear anything at all,” Gay told the paper.
Salisbury University junior Kristin Dabney said she was anxious after the shooting. “It’s nerve-wracking now that this has happened,” she said.
Although authorities have pointed to domestic violence as the cause of the murder-suicide, the investigation continues.