Florida Tech student fatally shot in armed confrontation with officers, police say

The 18-year-old allegedly lunged at police with an "edged weapon."

Video byCaterina Andreano and Katrina Stapleton
December 4, 2021, 6:18 PM

A Florida Institute of Technology student who was reportedly wielding a knife at students on campus was fatally shot by officers Friday night, authorities said.

Police officers and school security responded shortly before 11 p.m. to reports of a man on the Melbourne campus "armed with a knife and assaulting students," the Melbourne Police Department said.

The incident began at Roberts Hall, a freshman residence hall, according to school officials.

Officers confronted the man, identified by police as 18-year-old Alhaji Sow, in a campus building "armed with an edged weapon," the department said.

Sow "lunged" at a police officer with his weapon during the confrontation, and the officer and a school security officer both fired their weapons, striking him, according to Melbourne police.

PHOTO: In this screen grab taken from Google Maps Street View, the entrance sign to the Florida Institute of Technology is shown in Melbourne, Fla.
In this screen grab taken from Google Maps Street View, the entrance sign to the Florida Institute of Technology is shown in Melbourne, Fla.
Google Maps Street View

Officers attempted lifesaving measures but the student died at the scene, police said.

The Melbourne police officer who fired his weapon was injured during the incident, police said. No other injuries were reported.

Shortly after midnight, the school issued a shelter-in-place alert and advised people to avoid the area due to police activity on campus. The order was lifted around 3 a.m., though students were advised to avoid Roberts Hall and Campbell Hall, another residence hall, due to the investigation.

The shooting was an "isolated incident" and there is no further threat to the campus, police and school officials said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. The officer is a five-year veteran of the force, police said.

Sow, of Riverdale, Georgia, was a sophomore at the university studying aeronautical science, school officials said.

In a statement Saturday morning, Florida Tech said it "continues to collaborate with law enforcement's ongoing investigation."

The school said it is arranging support services Saturday for students and others in the community.

"My heart goes out to everyone in pain. I mourn any loss of life, while I also remain steadfastly thankful for the men and women who invest their lives in protecting us," Florida Tech President and CEO T. Dwayne McCay said in a statement Saturday. "The safest university campuses are the ones where students, staff, faculty and others look out for one another. We do that at Florida Tech."

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