Off-campus shooting reportedly involves Edinboro student

Contributed Photo
The 123 Water St. apartment building was the site of a fatal shooting on Monday night. Edinboro police have made an arrest in the case.
Fatal shooting shakes community

By Logan Lilly

A fatal off-campus shooting at 123 Water St. shook both Edinboro University and the surrounding community after it occurred at approximately 6:12 p.m. on Monday night.

The victim of the shooting was 22-year-old Tobiah J. Johnson, a former student of Edinboro. The suspect in custody for the alleged homicide is 21-year-old Trey Gunter, a fourth year communications studies major at Edinboro. Gunter was arraigned in McKean Township district court on Tuesday afternoon. He is currently being held at the Erie County Prison with no bond, with a preliminary hearing to be held on Dec. 2 at 1 p.m.

The suspect and victim were both from the Pittsburgh area and reportedly knew each other. The motive for the homicide is being described as “drug related” from authorities and reportedly stemmed from a robbery or theft of a handgun. Johnson reportedly took a .45 caliber handgun from Gunter and Gunter reported the burglary to police on Monday morning. This information is provided by Edinboro Police Chief Jeff Craft and arrest records.

An eye witness reported that Gunter and another individual pulled up in a vehicle and an unknown male assaulted Johnson. Gunter then reportedly hit Johnson with the butt of a handgun. The witness then heard a gunshot and Gunter say “He still got the joint on him,” as Gunter and the other man continued to reportedly assault Johnson. Gunter then stopped hitting Johnson and reportedly fired a shot into his lower back. Police are still looking for the other man reportedly involved in the incident.

Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook initially confirmed the shooting and described finding Johnson’s body “next to a car at the end of the lot, near a dumpster, behind the apartment building.” Students at Edinboro were put under lockdown when the initial reports of the shooting came in. Students received alerts via email and on their phones through the E2Campus alert system, stating “Off-campus shooting in area of Water St. Active police investigation. Avoid area. Gunman still at large.”

At 7:42 p.m. a campus wide lockdown was put into effect. During this time all campus buildings were locked down and secured by campus police and students were warned to “stay inside behind locked doors until otherwise notified.”  At 9:55 p.m. campus police began escorting students in groups back to their resident halls from various buildings on campus and minutes later EMTA bus service made a loop on campus for students. Campus officials lifted the campus lockdown at 11:41 p.m. but Edinboro police hadn’t caught the shooter at that time so students were advised to stay indoors.

Tuesday morning Edinboro University President Julie Wollman released the following message to all students and faculty “Today, our University Police will remain on heightened alert, but local police who are investigating the crime believe there is no reason to curtail our normal activity. Classes and other University operations will continue as usual.” Three hours later Edinboro police took Gunter into custody. Wollman sent an additional email to all students and faculty updating them on Gunter’s arrest and thanked all faculty and staff who ensured the safety of our students saying:

“Safeguarding our students and all members of our community is our first concern, and it is successfully achieved when we all come together in challenging times.”

Logan Lilly is the editor-in-chief for The Spectator. He can be reached by (814) 732-2266