University of Akron Board of Trustees offers $50K reward after murder of 18-year-old Berea student

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 11:33 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The University of Akron community is still in mourning after a college freshman was shot to death at a party close to campus.

Students and faculty are scared, but on Tuesday the university’s president assured the campus community they are taking immediate action to step up security, starting with hiring a lot more university police officers and installing security cameras.

“It’s so sad and scary I mean honestly there’s just a lot that happens in Akron that’s kind of scary,” said Kailey Schwartz, Junior at the University of Akron.

Early Sunday morning 18-year-old Maya McFetridge’s life was cut short. The University of Akron freshman died after she was shot in the chest at an off-campus party.

‘Every member of this university family is precious to us,” said Gary Miller, President of the University of Akron. “Every member of this family brings special light, unique gifts, and a potential to change all of us for the better. We are profoundly saddened that our time with Maya was cut short no matter what happens in our lives all of us here, all of us at this university will always feel the loss of this young student.

Akron police said a fight broke out at the party near Kling and Wheeler streets. Then someone started shooting, hitting McFetridge and two others, those two are still in the hospital. Akron police said they do not believe the victims were the intended targets. They are still searching for the shooter.

“I despair at the loss of Maya,” said Miller. “I despair at the loss of any life in this city to the forces of violence and I’m determined to do whatever I can to prevent a loss of life.”

The safety plan includes stepping up patrols, hiring more police officers, a separate security company, and spending $1,000,000 to install cameras in certain areas near campus.

“I have ordered a complete review and immediate upgrade to our campus-based incident alert system,” said Miller.

The university’s board of trustees also announced their commitment to finding McFetridge’s killer.

“Members of the board of trustees committed to personally fund a 50,000 dollar reward for the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for this terrible crime,” said Joe Gingo, Chairman of the board of trustees.

The president said the university is working to obtain more of a leadership role when it comes to some of the off-campus student housing in the area.

“You know students live at home and they live lots of different places, this one happens to be close to campus,” explained Miller. “Historically it had a lot of students living there. It’s got many fewer right now, so we are going to work very hard to not only apply resources that we have and we have limited resources but also to be a more prominent voice to what happens in that area so that residents who live there including some of our students are safe.”

The president also said he is working on a long-term plan of control and intervention for the area where that student was shot. He says he’ll deliver this plan on January 1, 2022.

The other two victims, a 22-year-old man and a 25-year-old, are not University of Akron students.

Akron police said the 25-year-old man was in critical condition and the 22-year-old man was in stable condition. Their names have not been released.

“We don’t believe that the victims were the intended targets,” said Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller, “There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of variables, known and unknown, and in that process, we will do a very thorough neighborhood canvass and do that neighborhood canvass again.

There are no arrests.

If you have information, call any of the numbers listed below. Callers can remain anonymous.

Akron Police Department Detective Bureau: 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip

Summit County Crimestoppers: 330-434-COPS

Text a tip to TIPSCO at 274637.

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