Twenty-one-year-old SUNY Potsdam student fatally shot in rural New York, authorities say

Michael J. Snow is seen in a undated police mugshot.- New York State Police

(POTSDAM, N.Y.) — A 21-year-old college student was shot and killed in northern New York near her university’s campus, according to authorities.

Elizabeth Howell, a senior at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, was identified as the victim of the shooting, which took place Friday in the village of Potsdam, located about 200 miles north of Albany, according to New York State Police.

When officers arrived to the scene just before 6 p.m., they found Howell unconscious with gunshot wounds, police said. She was transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Authorities did not provide details surrounding the circumstances of the shooting.

A shelter-in-place order was placed at the university after police received reports of shots fired near campus and lifted Saturday morning.

Michael J. Snow, 31, of Massena, New York, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on Saturday afternoon, police said. At his arraignment, Snow was remanded to St. Lawrence County Jail without bail. He is not affiliated with the college, according to the university, and it is unclear how he and Howell were connected.

State police are asking the public for information on Snow’s whereabouts between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Friday. He was seen driving a gray Honda Civic with New York license plate KVE2731 with damage to the driver’s side door through Potsdam, Hopkinton, Malone, Westville, Hogansburg and Massena during that time frame, police said.

Howell, who went by the nickname “Beth,” was a cellist who performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Phil Neisser, the president of SUNY Potsdam, said in a statement. She was scheduled to graduate this year.

“She was an aspiring educator with a bright future ahead of her.” Neisser wrote. “Together, we — as one united campus community — honor her life and mourn her loss.”

Classes are canceled on Monday, the school announced.

“The entire SUNY Potsdam community mourns her loss, and we stand together in unity to remember her,” the university wrote in a statement.

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