CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Authorities in Charleston are investigating an early morning homicide that happened downtown.
According to the Charleston Police Department, a couple was walking near the intersection around 6:15 a.m. when they were approached by two men – one of whom was armed with a handgun – and demanded money from the victims.
One of the victims, later identified as Tom DiLorenzo, was shot during the attempted robbery while his wife, Suzanne Austin, was not physically injured. The suspects fled the scene.
DiLorenzo was transported to the Medical University of South Carolina where he later died. According to Chief Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal, DiLorenzo, 63, died at MUSC just before 7 a.m.
The victims were identified by the College of Charleston’s President Andrew Hsu. He said Austin is the college’s new Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs.
The robbery and shooting happened just blocks away from the College’s campus.
“Our time with Tom was too short – much too short. He and Suzanne had only just moved to Charleston a few weeks ago. But I would like to share just a few details about Tom so that you may better know the person we lost,” said Hsu.
He went on to say, “Tom had recently retired from the University of North Dakota in June after serving there as provost and vice president of academic affairs for seven years. Tom was celebrated not only for his collaborative leadership style, but also his belief in experiential learning and how the city of Grand Forks served as an extension of the UND classroom. Given time, Tom would have seen parallels of that dynamic here in Charleston as well.
From what I understand, Tom – as you would expect of any lifelong academician – held education in the highest esteem, even calling it the “ultimate equalizer” because he knew that education was the only way a person could take full control of his/her/their life and ensure a future of success.
This is a moment of great sorrow for the entire College of Charleston community. In this difficult time, I want to express heartfelt condolences to Suzanne and the Austin and DiLorenzo families. It is imperative that we, as a campus community, come together now to support Suzanne and her family as they mourn the untimely loss of a husband and father.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg also released a statement on the shooting saying all of Charleston was ‘shocked and horrified’ by the senseless murder of Tom DiLorenzo and called it a cruel act of violence that “has no place in our city.”
He went on to say, “Our hearts go out to Mr. DiLorenzo’s family and friends, and to the whole College of Charleston community at this terrible time.”
In his statement Friday afternoon, Mayor Tecklenburg said Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds reported that this was a tragic and isolated incident and said his officers are working to identify the perpatrators.
“Neither the City of Charleston nor our Police Department will rest until the people who committed this terrible crime have been brought to justice,” he said.