After a University of Maryland junior died in a suspected murder-suicide Wednesday night, many university students are wondering why they didn’t receive an alert from University Police.
Farhad Siddique, 19, was killed outside of Parkside apartments, located behind the Campus Village Shoppes across from The Varsity. Police believe his father, Nasir Siddique, shot him before killing himself. Prince George’s County Police and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident.
University Police said in a statement Thursday that they chose to not send out an alert about the incident because it was not an “imminent threat.”
“A UMD Alert was not issued to campus in this instance, as the purpose of alerts is to inform the campus community of an imminent threat or an on-going risk to the campus community,” the statement read. “Our officers determined that there was no imminent threat involving this case nor an on-going risk to the campus community.”
However, students expressed concern that they didn’t find out about a serious crime so close to the campus.
“[My friend] was reading the news and she said, ‘Oh my gosh, did you hear? … There was a murder-suicide,'” freshman government and politics major Ashton Higdon said. “This one I had no clue about, which kind of worried me a little bit.”
Irene Gomez, a junior psychology major, suggested that students should get alerts for any serious incident.
“We get alerts for almost everything,” Gomez said. “As a commuter it would be nice to know if something goes on, even if it’s not on-campus but around the area because that’s where we live too.”
Renita Fajardo, a sophomore English major, also didn’t find out about the shooting until later.
“That would have been nice to know, since I commute and sometimes stay late,” Fajardo said.
University Police alerted the campus after a similar incident in February 2013, when two students died in a murder-suicide on the 8700 block of 36th Avenue — about a block from the northern edge of the campus — and another suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The male shooter, a graduate student, lit a fire in his basement, which prompted two of his roommates to go downstairs and investigate. He then shot one roommate, as well as the other while he fled, before shooting himself, according to a 2013 Diamondback article.
For that incident, University Police had been alerted there were suspects seen in a vehicle following the shooting, so officials “thought it was an imminent threat to our campus community,” police spokeswoman Sgt. Rosanne Hoaas said.
“[It was] close to our community, and you never know where a person can travel,” Hoaas said.
It wasn’t until after police put out the alert that they determined it was a murder-suicide. At the time the alert was sent out, “We made that decision based on that limited information,” Hoaas said.
Farhad Siddique was found after University Police received a missing person report at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday. He and his father were found in a car outside Parkside apartments shortly after 10:30 p.m. and pronounced dead on the scene. Both had gunshot wounds, and a weapon was found inside the car, according to a police statement.
Students in need of counseling support are encouraged to use the university’s counseling center in the Shoemaker Building, which offers emergency consultations. Students do not need an appointment and can come in anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.