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Man arrested in fatal shooting of student at SUNY Potsdam

New York State Police

POTSDAM, N.Y. (AP) — A music education student at the State University of New York in Potsdam campus died from gunshot wounds in what was described as an isolated incident, authorities said Saturday.

New York state police charged Michael J. Snow, 31, of Massena, NY, with one count of second-degree murder. He was arraigned in the town of Potsdam court and remanded to St. Lawrence County Jail with no bail, police said. It was unclear whether he had an attorney who could comment.

Potsdam police responded to a report of an unconscious woman shortly before 6 p.m. Friday when they found 21-year-old Elizabeth Howell of Patterson, N.Y., lying with gunshot wounds on the side of College Park Road in the village.

She was pronounced dead about an hour later after she was taken to Canton Potsdam Hospital, authorities said.

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. The school’s website calls the music school “one of the best public music programs in the country.”

“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.

The school said it was canceling Monday classes “as we work to support each other through this tragedy.” It advised students that the College Counseling Center would offer drop-in support all weekend as it also posted crisis and suicide hotline numbers.

Earlier Saturday, the school had warned people in St. Lawrence County and neighboring Franklin County “to be vigilant, as there may still be an active threat to the community. Lock your doors, and report any suspicious activity.”

But a later news release copied language from the State Police report, saying “the preliminary investigation has determined that this appears to be an isolated incident.”

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.

The Village of Potsdam is located in the Town of Potsdam in the Adirondack foothills in St. Lawrence County, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the Canadian border.

State police said they were asked to lead the investigation.