Crime & Courts

Man, woman arrested in death of Wichita State student in dorm parking lot

Two people were arrested on Sunday in connection with the fatal shooting of a Wichita State University student on campus the previous morning, police said.

The suspects — a 23-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman — were arrested shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Wichita police Deputy Police Chief Hassan Ramzah said. Law enforcement records indicate Isaiah Copridge, 23, and Eboni Fingal, 19, have been booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Wichita police officers responding to a report of a man down in the parking lot of Fairmount Towers, 2221 N. Hillside, at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning found Rayan Ibrahim Baba, who had been shot several times, Ramzah said. Baba, 23, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7 a.m.

Detectives worked “tirelessly” through the night, Ramzah said. Interviews, along with evidence found at the scene, led authorities to the two suspects who were arrested.

“This was not a random act,” Ramzah said.

Baba was acquainted with the two suspects and made arrangements to meet them at Fairmount Towers, where he lived, Ramzah said. He was fatally wounded there in the parking lot.

Baba was a Saudi undergraduate student majoring in electrical engineering, according to Abdulrahman Alotaibi, vice president of the Saudi Student Association at Wichita State.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, WSU president John Bardo said Baba had enrolled at WSU for the spring semester in the College of Engineering.

"Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the deceased,” Bardo said in the statement.

"We're very appreciative of the excellent police work leading to the identification of suspects in his death Saturday morning,” Bardo said. “To the best of our knowledge, neither suspect has an affiliation with WSU.”

Bardo cited authorities identifying the crime as not a random act of violence “but an outgrowth of the relationship that already existed between the student and those taken into custody.”

WSU police chief Sara Morris said Baba was not enrolled for fall classes at the university and was preparing to move out of the dorm.

“This is an isolated incident,” Morris said. “This type of incident could occur anywhere in the city.

“It just unfortunately occurred at Wichita State University.”

People heard gunshots when the incident occurred, Morris said, but they were unable to figure out their location.

The entrances to Fairmount Towers are gated and residents must use security codes to activate the gates, she said. Investigators don’t know yet whether Baba activated the gates so the suspects could drive into the parking lot or if they arrived on foot.

Baba’s death is the first homicide on the WSU campus in more than 20 years, Morris said. Two people were killed in what police described as a gang-related shooting after the July 4 fireworks display at Cessna Stadium in 1993: A 14-year-old boy found in the parking lot west of Levitt Arena and a 54-year-old woman, whom police described as a bystander, found in a grassy area of a parking lot south of the arena.

“The campus is a safe environment for our students and our community,” Morris said. “We want to be sure people understand that.”

Meetings are being held with students, faculty and staff to help them cope with what happened Saturday morning, Morris said.

Bardo said university officials will continue to meet with students, faculty and staff “to hear their ideas and concerns” in the wake of the fatal shooting.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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