Reports are trickling in of precautionary measures being taken by Jewish institutions in Connecticut following the shooting of a Wesleyan University student on Wednesday. The suspected killer, Stephen Morgan, is now the target of a nationwide manhunt.
Police say they believe Morgan may be targeting the Jewish community. According to a Hartford Courant report, Morgan’s journals, which were discovered in his abandoned vehicle near the scene of the crime, contained "threats against Wesleyan and its Jewish students."
Middletown’s only synagogue, the Conservative Congregation Adath Israel, has closed its building. President Eliot Meadow told JTA that, contrary to published reports, the synagogue decided on its own to close the building — though not the synagogue itself — based on information it recieved from the police and the ADL. Services will be held elsewhere "until we feel comfortable," Meadow said.
Wesleyan has a substantial Jewish student population, numbering between 600-800 undergraduates according to the school’s website. Nearby Chabad centers have responded with increased security measures and the local Jewish federation, located up the road in Hartford, put out a statement as well:
We are monitoring the situation as developments unfold in the search for alleged shooter Stephen Morgan. We have been informed of expressed threats in his personal journal toward Wesleyan University and its Jewish students. In light of this, we have instructed our beneficiary agencies, organizations and synagogues in Greater Hartford and surrounding towns including Middletown’s Congregation Adath Israel, to implement heightened security measures at their institutions, be aware of unusual or suspicious behavior or persons and trust their instincts."
The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford has posted the suspect’s photo on www.jewishhartford.org and circulated his photo to all front desk personnel at area Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues. Local agency and synagogue directors and rabbis should contact the local law enforcement authorities immediately if situations arise.