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Maryland Student Who Prompted Closure of Campus Found Dead

Photo Courtesy of CNN

Photo Courtesy of CNN

Jacob Marberger, the student at Washington College in Maryland whose disappearance prompted a suspension of classes, has been found dead in Pennsylvania, state police there said.

The Hamburg, Pa., division of the state police said he was found Saturday afternoon at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

The Chestertown, Md., college had shut down operations after information indicated that Marberger was upset and armed.

Relatives said that Marberger, 19, a sophomore, had been despondent about incidents at the college.

State police said sanctuary staffers found Marberger in a picnic area, along with the vehicle he was believed to be using.

The sanctuary is in east-central Pennsylvania, about an hour and a half northwest of the Marberger family’s home near Philadelphia.

Marberger’s parents had phoned the college Nov. 16 to report that he had come home distraught and taken a rifle case and was not responding to text messages.

The call prompted a campus lockdown and a decision by the school to close for the month.

College administrators grew concerned that Marberger could present an imminent danger. Recent incidents of mass shootings and

of threats at educational facilities had reinforced their apprehensions.

“The guidepost is student safety,” said Sheila Bair, president of the college, a 1,400-student liberal arts institution on the Eastern Shore.

Authorities had been searching for the student, who was reported last seen in the Hamburg area at some point Nov. 16. That was the day he was believed to have purchased ammunition.

In an interview last week, Marberger’s father, Jon, said he never saw his son as a threat but thought that notifying the college was the right thing to do.

He described his son as “an intellectual, conscientious young man” who loved his fraternity, was a student government leader and was active in theater.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          School officials have said that Marberger was upset by a prank played on him in early October. A trash can full of water was apparently placed against his dorm room’s door so that when he opened it, the water spilled in.

A school official has said Marberger thought that a couple of students were ridiculing or persecuting him.

Later, Marberger allegedly brandished a pistol at his fraternity house, possibly while drunk, according to school officials. He was expelled from his fraternity and resigned as speaker of the Student Senate.

He was suspended by the college and faced expulsion.

On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for his arrest on weapons charges.

In a statement, the college called Marberger’s death “a terrible blow to our community” and extended its “deepest sympathies” to the Marberger family “in their time of unimaginable grief.”