She was the only one of the 133 students in her senior class at King College Prep to be accepted into an Ivy League university last year.
In the end, Nasjay Murry chose to stay closer to home. Instead of heading off to Brown University in Providence, R.I., she picked Bradley University in Peoria, where she’d begun her early work in studying to become a gynecologist.
This week, staff at King were in shock after learning Murry had been one of two people to be fatally shot at an off-campus party in Peoria.
“She was a phenomenal young lady. This is truly devastating,” said David Howard, Murry’s counselor at King.
Police say officers responded to a Peoria home early Sunday and saw a large group of people running from the residence. Officers found Murry, 18, and a 22-year-old man, Anthony Polnitz, shot to death when they checked the home. A third person, a woman, was taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Peoria police officials offered few specifics on the crime scene and ongoing investigation. They did say, though, that Murry was one of about 100 people — a mixture of Bradley students and Peoria residents — who were at the party at the home at 1821 W. Bradley.
Peoria Police Capt. Mike Scally said the party was advertised on social media. As attendees scattered after the gunfire broke out, several of them dropped their cellphones. Scally said police were hoping to identify people who dropped their phones to interview them about the shooting and return their property to them.
Howard described Murry as both extremely bright and compassionate. She could frequently be found at school after the final bell, participating in band and the National Honor Society, among other activities, he said.
She came back to campus last December to share her fledgling college experience with others at King, Howard said. Murry graduated from King last year with a 4.2 GPA, Howard said.
“That’s really what she was all about — helping others,” he said.
Contributing: Associated Press and Sam Charles