‘Stray’ gunfire from I-81 vehicle hits SUNY ESF dorm room

Regional News

It was a scary night for Fayetteville-Manlius turned ESF sophomore Ben Marschall, who instead of being in bed at 3:30 Saturday morning, was watching Netflix in his dorm suite living room.

His decision to not go to bed earlier may have saved his life.

While he was in the living room, he heard gunshots. Marschall went down the hall to his bedroom, where he found drywall remnants all over and holes in the walls.

Marschall called SUNY police, who then called Syracuse Police.

In an email to the campus community, SUNY ESF cites police in saying Cenetennial Hall was not an intentional target. At this early point in the investigation, police believe the bullet came from “stray’ gunfire from a vehicle passing on I-81.

I-81 sits directly behind Cenetennial Hall.

SUNY ESF’s interim president sent an email to campus Saturday evening:

Dear ESF Community, 

As you may have heard, overnight a bullet fired from outside the building hit Centennial Hall and lodged in an interior wall. No one was injured.

Syracuse police believe this bullet was the result of a stray shot from a vehicle on I-81 and that Centennial Hall was not a target. The incident remains under investigation by the Syracuse Police Department with the cooperation of the ESF University Police Department. Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact ESF University Police at 315.470.6667 or the Syracuse Police Department at 315.442.5222.

As always, the safety of our students is our highest priority. We are fortunate and grateful that ESF University Police Department and the Syracuse Police Department both responded quickly and provided assistance to our students and staff.

We realize that incidents such as this can be extremely troubling to students and their families. The Centennial Hall staff are always available for students – students may reach a staff member on call 24/7 at 315.414.8778.

Students who need support through the week can contact the Division of Student Affairs at 315.470.6660 during regular business hours. Additionally, ESF Counseling Services is available to students needing support in 110A Bray Hall, 315.470.4716. This number is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Dean Lombard has been in contact with our students regarding this incident.

We will update you as soon as new information is available.


David C. Amberg 
Interim President

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