SUNY Potsdam community remembering Elizabeth Howell

Published: Feb. 19, 2022 at 5:40 PM EST
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - A college student was fatally shot Friday just off-campus at SUNY Potsdam.

Saturday, students and faculty deal with the shock and try to understand.

“This whole weekend is going to be about mourning. This campus is very good about taking the time to mourn those who have been lost,” said Phillip Kramer, a SUNY Potsdam junior.

The victim was 21-year-old Elizabeth Howell, of Patterson, New York. She was found late Friday afternoon on the side of College Park Road, unconscious, with gunshot wounds just 100 feet from campus.

Dave Biritteri lives on the road.

“It’s a quiet town. People who know Potsdam- it’s a college town. It’s relatively quiet. Nothing like this happens,” said Birittieri.

Howell was a Music Education Major in her final year at the Crane School of Music. She played cello in the Crane Symphony Orchestra.

“She was a senior. She was going to graduate. Just a couple months to go – to be taken away, that’s crazy,” said Kramer.

A shelter-in-place order for the campus was lifted Saturday morning as police continued to search for a suspect. New York State Police announced Saturday night, an arrest has been made. Michael J. Snow, 31, of Massena, has been charged with one count of 2nd Degree Murder and is being held at St. Lawrence County Jail with no bail.

Representatives with SUNY Potsdam say Snow has no affiliation with the college, either as a student, employee or graduate.

Drop-in counseling with mental health staff has been made available to all students.

“Just supporting each other. They’re working on support groups going forward. We’re working on memorial events. And events in honor of our student who passed,” said Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, a spokesperson for SUNY Potsdam.

A memorial where students can bring tributes is being set up in the Hosmer Gallery at SUNY Potsdam.

Emotions are running high at the Crane School. They say Howell had already attained so many of her goals here, with her coming graduation being one of the last.

A vigil and memorial concert are being planned in Howell’s honor.

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