A police report from South Carolina details how a woman helped police detain suspects wanted in the death of former UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo.
DiLorenzo, who retired from UND last month, was shot and killed in an attempted robbery in downtown Charleston, S.C., on Friday, July 17, while on a morning walk with his wife, Suzanne Austin.
This week, North Charleston Police released a report detailing the arrest of one of the teenagers involved in DiLorenzo's homicide. Around 6:45 p.m. Friday, an officer in North Charleston was flagged down by a woman who told the officer she could hear two teenagers swearing and pointing at her, according to the report. The woman told the officer, “‘it was them,’ and they stole the car,” according to the report obtained by the Herald.
She said she had just left the Charleston Detective Bureau and that “they were the wanted suspects in reference to a murder that happened at the College of Charleston,” the report stated.
After speaking with the Charleston Detective Bureau, the officer turned his police vehicle around to follow the suspects, who then fled on foot until they were detained.
The Post and Courier in South Carolina reported that one was taken into custody by Charleston police, while the other was arrested by officers from North Charleston.
The names of the suspects, 15 and 16, have not been released, since they are minors. They were charged with murder and attempted armed robbery, Charleston Police said in a news release. One is also charged with possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Police announced Thursday night that a third suspect in DiLorenzo's homicide had been arrested. The 15-year-old was taken into custody Thursday evening by Charleston Police's warrants team, according to a press release from the department.
He has also been charged with murder and attempted robbery. Since he is a juvenile, the suspect's name will not be released.
The investigation is ongoing.
DiLorenzo was provost and vice president of academic affairs at UND for seven years, a time that included occasional controversy.
Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, who served as UND’s interim president before the arrival of former UND President Mark Kennedy, told UND’s blog “UND Today” that DiLorenzo didn’t “shy away” from controversy. He said he and DiLorenzo were at UND during a difficult time as UND was going through the process of changing its nickname and working through budget issues.
“(DiLorenzo) had the ability to understand people and different sides of an issue,” Schafer said. “While it was a difficult time of change for the university, he was able to walk into a controversy, understand all sides of an issue and not create more friction. He brought both sides together. That was hugely important.”
During Thursday’s North Dakota Board of Higher Education meeting, board chairman Nick Hacker took time to commend DiLorenzo and his contributions to UND and the North Dakota University System.
“He was known for its innovative spirit and a willingness to go above and beyond to help the students of UND,” Hacker said, noting DiLorenzo had a “wealth of teaching and administrative experience."
Hacker also remarked on DiLorenzo’s leadership on UND’s strategic plan.
“He performed his duties with care and compassion for others, and through his service the campus and system will forever remember, and be indebted for, the commitment to UND and the entire state. We mourn Dr. DiLorenzo's loss, but also celebrate his memory and imprint made on higher education in North Dakota.”
DiLorenzo and Austin had moved to Charleston a few weeks ago. Austin was recently named provost of the College of Charleston, located in the city. She is also a longtime higher education administrator.
UND’s foundation has created a memorial fund for DiLorenzo.
The funds will be put into a holding account as the university works with the families on how to best use the funds, according to the foundation’s website.
Additionally, Austin has asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Thought Food Pantry in his honor by giving online at UNDalumni.org/pantry.