An Edinboro University of Pennsylvania student from Pittsburgh is charged in the off-campus slaying of a former student, a shooting that prompted the school to be locked down for several hours Monday night.
Trey Daron Gunter, 21, who court records indicate lives in or near the Hill District, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on charges of criminal homicide, second-degree murder and related crimes in the death of Tobiah J. Johnson, 22, near the victim’s apartment, a short distance from campus.
Gunter is a senior majoring in communications studies with a minor in journalism, said Jeffrey Hileman, the school’s director for university communications. Johnson, a former high school wrestler and graduate of Reynolds High School in Mercer County, withdrew from Edinboro in fall 2011, officials said.
Police told the Erie Times-News that a dispute over a stolen gun prompted the shooting.
“We are very, very saddened to learn this afternoon about the incident involving a student and former student so close to campus,” Hileman said. “We are thankful police were able to make an arrest so quickly.”
A witness told police that Johnson had said he stole a .40-caliber handgun from Gunter, the Times-News reported. The burglary occurred Nov. 11.
The witness said Gunter shot Johnson after hitting him with the butt of a handgun when she and Johnson returned to their Water Street apartment shortly after 6 p.m., the newspaper reported.
Campus police systematically escorted students to their residence halls from classrooms; the McComb Fieldhouse, where a basketball game was in progress; and from a planetarium show.
The lockdown was lifted after midnight, and the school, which has an enrollment of 6,837 at its two campuses, operated on a normal schedule Tuesday, Hileman said.
“We are normally a really, really quiet campus,” Hileman said. “This is so disturbing, so out of character.”
Johnson was at the Keystone Adolescent Center in Greenville when he enrolled at Reynolds, retired high school wrestling coach Brian Hills said.
“He seemed like a likeable kid. He didn’t seem to have a lot of wrestling background but everyone made him feel like a member of the team,” Hills said.
Trouble followed him after school, according to state court records that show he was wanted in Westmoreland County where he was awaiting trial on drug charges. He also was wanted in Mercer County where he was awaiting trial on burglary charges.
Gunter remains in the Erie County Prison without bail to await a preliminary hearing scheduled Dec. 2, state court records show. He also is awaiting trial in Erie County on marijuana possession charges filed in March. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected].