Police arrested 31-year-old Michael J. Snow and charged him with second-degree murder, but the question remains as to why it happened.
In the meantime, there is grief and heartache in the Putnam County town of Patterson over the death of 21-year-old Potsdam student Elizabeth Howell.
"She was walking home from a class at school, and I don't think I have words to express how sad everybody is," neighbor Kim Carmody said.
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She had her husband Paul Carmody knew Howell since she was a 4-year old girl, and they -- like many others in the tight knit community along Putnam Lake -- cannot comprehend who and why someone would kill the senior who played cello in the college symphony orchestra.
"I've known she was born," neighbor Barbara Darcy said. "We were very close. She was the sweetest, most artistic wonderful girl."
Police found Howell's body shortly before 6 p.m. Friday on a road just off campus. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
One day later, state troopers arrested Snow, of nearby Massena.
School administrators say Snow has no connection to the college either as a student, employee or graduate, which leaves many unanswered questions -- chief among them a motive for the shooting.
Police released a picture of the suspect's vehicle. and they want to hear from anyone who may have spotted the car before Howell's death.
"It's just a tragedy," Paul Carmody said. "Here's someone who shouldn't own a gun parading around and killing people for no reason. It's just a disgrace."
In a news release Saturday, SUNY Potsdam said it was "deeply saddened" to share that the victim of the shooting was a student at the school's Crane School of Music who was in the Class of 2022.
"We mourn Beth's loss as one campus community, and hold her family, friends, and loved ones in our hearts at this difficult time," it said.
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SUNY Potsdam canceled classes Monday and are planning a vigil and memorial concert in the coming days and weeks.
SUNY Potsdam, founded in 1816, was one of the country's first 50 colleges. With fewer than 3,000 undergraduate students. Nearly half of its students pursue studies in the sciences, social sciences or mathematics.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report)
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