Student’s ‘shocking’ shooting death at party spurs warning by Delaware State U. president

Devin White was killed after being caught in crossfire, police said, when an off-campus party turned violent. (Instagram)

Devin White was killed after being caught in crossfire, police said, when an off-campus party turned violent. (Instagram)

Mayda Berrios enjoyed being in the company of Devin Wright, a gangly, gregarious fellow junior at Delaware State University.

“If you saw him, he would say hi. He would give you a hug,’’ Berrios told WHYY News. “He was always smiling. He never had a problem with anybody. He was just, like, a goofy person.”

Wright, 20, of Prince George’s County, Md., was killed after being caught in the crossfire during a shootout that erupted Sunday night at a remote park a few miles from the university’s Dover campus, police said.

Authorities said the gunfire broke out during a gathering organized by students. Officers estimated 300 to 500 people were there, in violation of Gov. John Carney’s COVID-19 State of Emergency order barring outdoor gatherings of more than 250 without prior permission from the state.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Berrios learned Monday that her buddy had been gunned down. “To hear that he was the one who got shot for no reason, it was definitely just shocking,’’ she said.

After an emotional vigil this week to celebrate Wright’s life, university president Tony Allen is mourning his loss and consoling students while issuing a stern warning about their behavior during the pandemic.

“As we mourn Devin’s senseless loss, I am asking you all to not only be careful, but to also be accountable,’’ Allen wrote in a letter to students.

He warned that students who violate COVID-19 mandates face discipline up to expulsion. “No one wants these things for you,’’ Allen wrote.

Berrios knew about but the party but didn’t attend, and she said fellow students are taking Allen’s words seriously.

“I think it was necessary,’’ she said. “Oftentimes, college students forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic. His message was important and eye-opening. Yes, you can have fun but you can have fun safely.”

Dover police say they are pursuing leads in the shootout, which also wounded a non-student.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal