Shock. Sadness. Disbelief.
Such were the emotions palpable on the faces of many a College Mennonite Church attendee Sunday as news of the early morning murder of GC science professor James S. Miller finally began to sink in.
Miller, a former member of CMC, was killed and his wife Linda seriously injured in what is believed to have been a home invasion early Sunday morning at their home just east of the GC campus.
April Muro, a social work major at the college and former student of Miller’s, was among those drawn to the church for comfort Sunday morning after learning of the attack through a friend’s Facebook message.
“I actually heard the police sirens earlier (Sunday) morning because I live right in this area, but with the hospital so close, we’re pretty used to sirens, so I didn’t think much of it,” Muro said. “This is considered a pretty safe neighborhood, so I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. I was just shocked.”
Shock seemed to be the prevailing theme at the college over the course of the following afternoon as word of the attack on Miller and his wife began to spread.
“I think the students are stunned, and we’re just really worried about the family and hoping that they’re able to have the privacy that they need,” Muro said. “It’s just awful. They were just the best people. I mean it’s not fair for this to happen to anybody, but for it to happen to them...it’s just unbelievable.”
As a former nursing student before making the switch to social work, Muro said she was privileged to have taken several classes with Miller, whom she described as a tough but very effective instructor.
“He was a great professor,” Muro said. “He was tough though. I mean, if you got a C in his class, it was like getting an A in any other class. He just pushed us, and you could tell he really wanted us to succeed.”
Tears forming in her eyes, Muro recalled once even considering switching her major to biology after seeing the passion with which Miller taught his classes and his willingness to always help any student in need.
“His door was always open,” Muro said. “He always made time, no matter how busy he was. He never turned anybody away. In fact, I was really hoping he would be able to attend my graduation in two years because he really pushed and encouraged me.
“This is such a huge loss, for both the family and the college.”
Shock. Sadness. Disbelief.
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