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Student in custody in stabbing death of Binghamton University freshman

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — A Binghamton University student was taken into custody as a suspect in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old freshman, police said Monday.

Engineering student Joao Souza was attacked at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday in a residence suite on the campus near the Pennsylvania state line. Souza had previously attended high school in New York and was a native of Brazil, where family was notified, according to the university.

Michael Roque, a 20-year-old student from Long Island, was arrested Monday night and charged with second-degree murder. He is being held at Broome County Jail.

Jonathan Ross, superintendent of the Blind Brook school district in Westchester County, told the Journal News that Souza graduated last year from Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, where he was a standout soccer player.

"Law enforcement believes the attack was not a random act and that the victim was targeted," university vice president Brian Rose said.

Earlier in the afternoon, university police released surveillance photos of Roque wearing dark pants and a dark, hooded sweatshirt as they asked for the public's help.

Police searching for Roque were being aided by forest rangers in wooded areas.

The school, one of the four university centers in New York's sprawling state university system, canceled classes Monday due to the "tragic event." Counseling was being offered to students and staff.

This was the second slaying of a student in the last two months. On March 9, the body of Haley Anderson, of Westbury on Long Island, was found in the off-campus apartment of a fellow student she had briefly dated. She had been strangled.

"For the second time this semester we've struggled to absorb the news that one of our students has been killed," Rose said.

The Broome County district attorney's office is seeking to have that suspect returned from Nicaragua to stand trial.