MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – For two days, Wesleyan University feared becoming another Virginia Tech as police conducted a nationwide manhunt for a man accused of stalking and killing one student and threatening to kill more.
But the crisis came to an abrupt end late Thursday just 10 miles from campus after suspect Stephen P. Morgan saw his photo in a newspaper and asked a convenience store clerk to call police.
Officers found him standing peacefully outside a Cumberland Farms store in south Meriden. They took him to the ground, then walked inside to tell the startled clerk that Morgan was the man wanted for the killing of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich at a campus bookstore in Middletown.
"I got nervous and I started crying," Sonia Rodriguez said. "I just got very, very scared."
Morgan, 29, was expected to be in court in Middletown on Friday morning for an arraignment, his first appearance before a judge to answer for Justin-Jinich's death. His bond is set at $10 million.
Justin-Jinich was shot several times early Wednesday afternoon while she worked in the bookstore cafe. Authorities say the gunman wore a disguise, and authorities recovered a wig and a weapon from the scene.
Police interviewed Morgan outside the bookstore Wednesday without realizing he was a suspect. An official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that police stopped Morgan shortly after the shooting, spoke to him and let him go.
Later, when police confiscated Morgan's car, they found a journal in which he spelled out a plan to rape and kill Justin-Jinich before going on a campus shooting spree, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation.
Wesleyan officials said police told them that Morgan targeted Wesleyan students and Jews in his journals. Justin-Jinich, of Timnath, Colo., came from a Jewish family, and her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.
Authorities in New York said Morgan and Justin-Jinich have known each other since at least 2007, when Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint against him while they were enrolled in a summer class at New York University. In the complaint filed in July of that year, Justin-Jinich said Morgan called her repeatedly and sent her insulting e-mails.
One of the e-mails warned: "You're going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can't take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna."
Both were interviewed by university police, but Justin-Jinich decided not to press charges.
Morgan's brother Greg told the AP that Morgan wasn't anti-Semitic. His family issued a statement earlier Thursday pleading with Morgan to turn himself in "to avoid any further bloodshed."
In a statement read to reporters outside his parents' Marblehead, Mass., home, the Morgans said they were "shocked and sickened by the tragedy" and extended their condolences to the victim's family.
They added: "Steve, turn yourself in right now to any law enforcement agency wherever you are to avoid any further bloodshed. We love you. We will support you in every way and we don't want anyone else to get hurt."
It was unknown if Morgan heard the plea before he surrendered Thursday night.
Greg Morgan did not immediately return calls from the AP after police announced the arrest. There was no answer at the home of Morgan's father.
A woman answering the phone for Justin-Jinich's father said the family had no comment Thursday night on Morgan's arrest. She would not identify herself.
The shooting stirred memories of the Virginia Tech shootings, in which a deranged student killed 32 people and himself. A panel that investigated the 2007 massacre said university officials erred by not acting more quickly to warn students. Police had mistakenly concluded that the first two victims were shot as a result of a boyfriend-girlfriend dispute.
Police and administrators at Wesleyan immediately locked down the 3,000-student campus and stepped up patrols as authorities launched a hunt for the killer.
Sebastian Giuliano, mayor of Middletown, a city of 48,000, said his immediate thought upon seeing five police cars race by Wednesday was, "Don't tell me it's another Virginia Tech situation."
When the shooting occurred, several hundred students were already gathered for an annual concert that allowed students to blow off steam before finals. Police and university administrators moved everyone indoors and canceled the concert.
Police gave the all-clear late Wednesday afternoon and said there was no danger, but did an about-face two hours later, warning students to take immediate shelter.
Police said evidence uncovered at the scene prompted the renewed warnings, but they offered no details. Later Wednesday, they released a surveillance photo of the gunman and said they were looking for Morgan, a former Navy man who university authorities said had no connection to Wesleyan.
"Everything we did was based on information we received from Middletown police," Wesleyan spokesman David Pesci said.
By Thursday morning, Wesleyan officials warned that Morgan was threatening the Jewish population and the university. Staff members were ordered to stay home and most campus buildings were closed and locked, leaving the normally bustling liberal arts school barren of all but police cruisers.
The city's only synagogue also closed its doors Thursday.
Students who would typically be enjoying their pre-finals break instead shuffled through their dormitories in flip-flops, gym shorts and pajama pants. Wesleyan delivered box lunches so they wouldn't have to go outside.
Brenna Galvin, a sophomore from Amherst, N.H., said her family considered bringing her home. "It's hard to know what to do," she said. "Really, we're just trying to keep in touch with people at home."
Officials planned a memorial vigil for Justin-Jinich for Friday afternoon. They said the university library would reopen Friday, and schedules would start returning to normal.
"We are all breathing a little easier with this news," Wesleyan President Michael Roth said Thursday night.