Shooting Hits Close By

Kelly Tyko

Shots rung out at one of FAU’s partner campuses on Friday, Jan. 18, leaving two dead. The shooting at Broward Community College is being called a murder-suicide.

The shootings apparently stemmed from Michael Holness’ heartbreak over a failed relationship with Moriah Pierce, which Pierce ended in the fall. Pierce was a student at BCC, while Holness attended Florida International University.

According to Davie police and witnesses, Michael Holness confronted Pierce just before 11 a.m. on a grassy area of the BCC campus, just as students were walking to classes.

The two had a quick, argumentative exchange just before Holness pulled out the gun, shot Pierce in the back of the head, then shot himself. Both died as a result of the injuries, police reports said.

The incident happened out in the open, between the performing arts building and the English department at the school’s main campus, said Davie police Lt. Gary Killam.

BCC President Willis Holcombe said that he didn’t “think there was a thing we could have done to prevent [Friday’s shooting].”

“This is something the two brought on campus, something between them. It could have happened at a mall or the movies, anywhere,” Holcombe added.

College representatives said that in the midst of the tragedy their emergency plan worked. As soon as they were aware of the shooting, students were all kept in the classrooms and the area was secured.

The Davie police have maintained a presence on the BCC campus for ten years. “The communication between campus and administration, police departments, EMS, was very quick and very good,” Holcombe said.

Police sequestered witnesses for interviews and also arranged grief counseling. They and BCC officials were quick to stress that this was a domestic-related shooting and should not be compared to other school shootings where gunmen selected victims at random. The BCC campus has a low crime rate and is safe, they said.

–The Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel contributed to this article.