Eighteen-year-old Barnard Freshman Tessa Majors, killed in a robbery on Wednesday night, was a musician from Charlottseville, Virginia who played in two bands and had interned at a newspaper last summer.
“My band, Patient 0, has an album coming out tonight at midnight!! This is very exciting, and it’s basically a showcase of all my favorite songs I wrote in high school with Hannah,” she wrote on Instagram in September. The album is on Spotify.
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Majors also interned as a reporter for the Augusta Free Press in Waynesboro, Virginia. “I’ve always loved writing,” she said on a podcast at the time. “I’ve been writing in various forms since I was a little kid. Journalism was a field that I never delved into before… but I thought it would be a really interesting experience.”
She was killed in Morningside Park at 116th Street early Wednesday evening in an armed robbery. Majors was stabbed several times. She went to a guard booth near the park, and the guard called 911, Columbia University said. Police had not arrested anyone as of Thursday morning, and Columbia public safety said that two to three people involved had run away south through Morningside Park after the incident.
“While we don’t have all of the information yet, it’s clear that security in Morningside Park needs to be a priority going forward,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Earlier this year, a series of “sucker-punch” attacks in the park had neighbors on edge.
The Columbia community mourned Majors, and students were offered counseling.
“Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is enroute to NYC,” wrote Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock in an email to students. “We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack.”
Correction: Initial reports that the guard was not there when Majors went to the guard station were incorrect, Columbia says. “The officer was at his post and came to the student’s aid immediately upon recognizing that she was hurt.“