Drexel student stabbed to death near campus


Philadelphia police found Evan Morris at an apartment at 34th and Race with a critical stab wound




This story was updated at 12:00 a.m. on August 4.

Drexel University student Evan Morris died Friday morning shortly after Philadelphia Police found him in an off-campus apartment near Drexel’s campus with a critical stab wound.

Morris, 22, entered the apartment at 34th and Race streets and was stabbed once in the chest by a resident, Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Officer Jillian Russel said. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the altercation occurred after Morris kicked in the apartment’s door. The police arrived on the scene in response to a call at about 4:55 a.m. that reported a break-in.

Morris was pronounced dead at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at 5:58 a.m.

The Philadelphia Homicide Division is handling the investigation and states that the resident was acting in self-defense, according to Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Officer Christine O’Brien.

“As of now, it doesn’t look like there are going to be charges,” Russell said on Tuesday.

The resident is a student of a university other than Drexel. Penn’s Department of Public Safety is not aware of any Penn students involved in the incident.

The Morris family’s attorney, Willie Nattiel Jr., said the incident may have been a “setup” staged by Morris’ ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. “We believe that there is much more involved with this,” Nattiel said.

Drexel first alerted its community about Morris’ death in a school-wide email from President John Fry at about 10 a.m. on Friday.

“Everyone at Drexel is affected when we lose one of our own, especially as a result of senseless violence,” he wrote. “I know our University community will stand together to mourn and remember Evan and to give strength to his family and friends.”

The school’s Counseling Center is offering its services to those who have been affected by the incident, and university officials have been in touch with the Morris family, he added.

The Drexel Department of Public Safety chose not to deploy a DrexelALERT — an emergency notification that communicates critical information to the entire Drexel community through phone, email and text messages. Fry explained in his email that the university did not use the system because the student who stabbed Morris was immediately taken into custody and did not pose a threat to the community.

“Our Department of Public Safety takes very seriously the responsibility of creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for students, faculty and staff,” Drexel’s Senior Vice President of Communications Lori Doyle wrote in an email. “This was an isolated incident that occurred at a private residence.”

The intersection of Race and 34th streets is about four blocks north of Market Street, the northernmost street of the Penn DPS patrol zone.

Morris was a resident of North Potomac, Md.

Grace Zapol, a 2011 Montgomery College graduate who dated Morris for about three years when they attended high school together, said that “he was a really nice guy.”

“I wasn’t there [when he was stabbed], and I still don’t even really know what the fight was about,” she added. “I’ve heard a whole bunch of stories.”

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