Stern community holds vigil for students killed in Puerto Rico

Students and faculty at NYU’s Stern School of Business attended a vigil and memorial service for two students who were killed in Puerto Rico last week.


Danny Arensberg

Students and faculty gathered in Gould Plaza to mourn two Stern students killed in Puerto Rico. (Danny Arensberg for WSN)

Carmo Moniz and Yezen Saadah

More than 100 students and faculty at the Stern School of Business gathered in Gould Plaza Thursday night to mourn the deaths of Franco Medina Angulo and Sergio Palomino Ruiz, two MBA students at the school who were recently shot and killed during a trip to Puerto Rico. 

After a private memorial service inside Tisch Hall, attendees clad in black gathered outside the building in silence to grieve the two lives lost. Many held candles and shared hugs with fellow classmates, while others cried or bowed their heads. 

Victor Bouret, a sophomore at Stern, was walking toward Tisch Hall when he saw the vigil taking place. 

“[Stern] is a tight-knit community,” Bouret said. “When it impacts someone so close, you definitely feel affected and compassionate for the students because they were living similar lives to you.”

The vigil and memorial were organized by the Stern full-time MBA Student Government and the Latin American Business Association, a student group at Stern which Medina Angulo and Palomino Ruiz were both members of. The school’s administration also helped coordinate the two events.

The two students were killed outside a nightclub in San Juan on Saturday while on a trip with a group of classmates. None of the other students in the group were injured, according to a May 9 statement released by NYU.

In the statement, university spokesperson John Beckman said that NYU reached out to the other students on the trip and the victims’ families to offer support. He added that the university will provide counseling resources to the Stern community.

“NYU grieves today with these students’ family, loved ones, and friends, whose lives ended tragically, suddenly and far too early,” Beckman said. 

Medina Angulo and Palomino Ruiz were bystanders entangled in a dispute between two other groups, according to NYU’s statement. Police detained Marangelys Mclat Claudio, the woman suspected of killing the two students, on Monday. She was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, pointing and shooting a firearm, and shooting in a public place the next day. Authorities are also investigating additional suspects.

Stern will create a scholarship in each of Medina Angulo’s and Palomino Ruiz’s names for students who are interested in Latin America or have studied there, according to a May 8 email from Stern dean Raghu Sundaram to the Stern community. 

“Words are inadequate to describe the magnitude of the loss we feel as a community at having two such extraordinary people, who had so much to offer the world, so brutally snatched from our midst,” the email reads. “During tragic times such as these, supporting one another as a community is more important than ever. Let us continue to do so, especially in the coming days.”

Stern’s full-time MBA Student Government and LABA have also organized a GoFundMe campaign to support the victims’ families, which has raised over $77,000 so far.

“The Stern community is devastated by the loss of our dear classmates, Franco and Sergio,” the GoFundMe page reads. “They were such rays of light in our community, constantly bringing laughter, smiles and joy to all of us.”

Contact Carmo Moniz and Yezen Saadah at [email protected].