Charges filed in Seton Hall shooting incident

Student's ex-boyfriend suffered self-inflicted gunshot wound
February 12, 2008 5:03:37 PM PST
Authorities today filed a string of weapons charges against the man who shot himself at Seton Hall University Monday night, sending the campus into lockdown for more than an hour.Kevin Papalia is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, possession of a firearm on an educational facility, resisting arrest and harassment. More charges are expected.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall University students were back at class Tuesday.

Papalia, 22, from Marlboro, staggered into the lobby of a university dormitory with a gunshot wound to the stomach Monday night, said Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow.

Papalia, who was allegedly distraught over the breakup with a girlfriend, remained in fair condition Tuesday at University Hospital in Newark, said hospital spokesman Rogers Ramsey.

Administrators contacted students Monday night via e-mail and cell phone text message, warning them to stay in their rooms. The warning came about a half hour after the shooting, which occurred about 8:30 p.m.

"As soon as we had accurate information regarding the nature of the incident we sent out text messages and e-mails and updated the university Web site," said university spokeswoman Jill Matthews.

South Orange police were already on their way to the university because one of Papalia's friends had called 911, warning that the young man was upset and on his way to campus, Dow said.

Papalia may have been distraught over a breakup with a female student who lived at the dorm, Dow said.

Papalia's aunt, Melinda Kay, of Marlboro, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that her nephew had recently fought with the ex-girlfriend.

"He just really wanted to see her. He's been depressed. He may have thought about hurting himself, but he never would have hurt her or anyone else," Kay said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Papalia shot himself while parked in his car near the dorm, or while driving there.

Police found a handgun in the trunk of Papalia's car, Dow said.

Later searches turned up a rifle at Kay's house, where Papalia had been staying, and an assault rifle at the Edison home of the same friend who alerted authorities, said Essex County prosecutor's office spokesman Paul Loriquet.

Dow expected Papalia to face criminal charges related to weapons offenses and threats.

The Roman Catholic school, which is about 12 miles west of New York City, has about 10,000 students.

About 5,500 students, staff and parents of students have signed up to receive text message alerts on their cell phones, said university spokesman Thomas White.

The text messaging system was originally installed in spring 2006 for more mundane announcements, such as snow days, but began to be used for campus emergencies after the April 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which 33 people died.