Even before errant bullets struck a 20-year old at the BP gas station on Friday and a 19-year old two days later, many Morgan State University students refused to go near the business about a block away from campus.
"I don't really go over there," said Shante Boston, a freshman from Washington D.C. "Because it's a mess over there. There's too much going on. There's always something going on, so I just don't go."
After the latest shooting on Sunday, Morgan State Campus and Public Safety Director Adrian Wiggins sent out an email urging students, faculty and staff not to patronize the gas station until the site security has improved, and city police appear to be ready to force the issue through the padlock laws if necessary.
"As we've seen before and, coincidentally, it was a BP gas station over on Windsor Mill and Forest Park, sometimes these gas station operators allow those who want to commit criminal activity like drugs to operate out of their facility,” said Baltimore City Police Media Relations Chief T.J. Smith. “That's what we believe we have going on at this facility. We believe it's a hub for drug activity."
For now, marked patrol cars are shadowing the business mindful of the more than six thousand undergraduate students on the nearby campus.
"This is something that we're partnering with Morgan because of the proximity,” said Smith, “The commissioner has been on the phone with the president of Morgan. We've spoken to their leadership from their police department as well."
And students have been placed on notice of the threat.
"It was just saying that somebody got shot," Boston said.
Even though, for many of them, it may come as no surprise.
“That happens a lot here. That's all,” Boston said. “It just happens a lot. It's not really shocking no more."
Morgan State has also assigned an additional security guard to provide safety escorts between the Marble Hall gardens apartments and the Earl Graves business school, and it's encouraging students to utilize that service.