Sonya Rodriguez, a clerk at a Cumberland Farms convenience store in nearby Meriden, says 29-year-old Stephen P. Morgan asked her to call the police when he stopped in the store Thursday night.
Rodriguez told CBS affiliate WFSB in Hartford that she didn't recognize Morgan and thought he was having car trouble. When police arrived, they told her the man she had been talking to was wanted for Wednesday's fatal shooting of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich in Middletown.
Rodriguez says she started crying and was nervous.
Morgan is being held on $10 million bond and is due in court Friday morning.
A Meriden police spokesman says Morgan was arrested and turned over to authorities in Middletown who are investigating the shooting near Wesleyan.
Justin-Jinich was shot several times Wednesday by a gunman wearing a wig at her job inside Broad Street Books, a popular student bookstore. Two years ago, she complained to police that Morgan stalked and threatened her.
Police told the university that Morgan expressed threats in his personal journals toward Wesleyan and its Jewish students, the school said, leading students to remain indoors and the city's only synagogue to be shut down Thursday.
Justin-Jinich, of Timnath, Colo., came from a Jewish family, said her former stepmother. Morgan's brother told The Associated Press he wasn't anti-Semitic.
Most buildings on campus, including cafeterias and the library, were locked Thursady. University officials had urged students to stay indoors and told staff members to stay home. The spring semester ended Tuesday and finals are scheduled for next week.
Normally bustling sidewalks were empty and police cruisers patrolled the campus. In dorms, students dressed in flip-flops, gym shorts and pajama pants shuffled downstairs to pick up box lunches of roasted vegetable, tuna fish or cheese sandwiches.
"We're supposed to do some work, but really I just keep checking my e-mail and checking on friends and letting people from home know that I'm OK," said freshman Christina Yow, of China. "Anything to distract."
Brenna Galvin, a sophomore from Amherst, N.H., said her family was considering bringing her home.
"It's hard to know what to do," she said. "Really, we're just trying to keep in touch with people at home."
Morgan's last known address was Swampscott, Mass. His brother, Greg Morgan, told the AP that the family is distraught over the shooting. He said they have not spoken to Morgan in several weeks.
"I am devastated by what happened to this young girl at Wesleyan," he said. "We're just absolutely distraught over everything that's gone on. We're just hoping that they find my brother and no one else gets hurt."
Greg Morgan said his brother has not shown anti-Semitism in the past. "My brother was a very sweet person and had a big heart and I hope he's OK," he said.
Morgan's father, James Morgan, declined to comment when he answered the door at his home in Marblehead, Mass. He asked reporters to leave his property.
New York authorities said Justin-Jinich filed a harassment complaint against Morgan when they were enrolled in the same six-week program at New York University. In a complaint filed July 17, 2007, Justin-Jinich said Morgan called her repeatedly and sent her insulting e-mails for the previous week.
"You're going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can't take any (expletive) criticism, Johanna," one of the e-mails said, according to the police report.
Both were interviewed by university police, but Justin-Jinich decided not to press charges.
Police would not say why they believe Morgan may target the university or Jews.
"She was just a wonderful kid, very smart, very loving," said Justin-Jinich's former stepmother, Karin Radcliffe.
Middletown's only synagogue, Congregation Adath Israel, is across the street from the bookstore. It was closed Thursday and congregants were considering canceling Sabbath services Friday night and Saturday.
Wednesday's shooting and manhunt was the day of Wesleyan's Spring Fling concert, held annually to allow students to blow off steam before spring semester finals. Several hundred students were already gathered early Wednesday afternoon when police warned them to take shelter from a possible shooter.
A panel that investigated the April 16, 2007, massacre at Virginia Tech concluded that university officials erred by not acting more quickly to warn students because police prematurely concluded that the first two victims were shot as a result of a domestic dispute.
Justin-Jinich would have graduated next year from Wesleyan, an elite private liberal arts school with about 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. She was a 2006 graduate of the Westtown School, a private Quaker boarding school in rural southeastern Pennsylvania, about 25 miles west-southwest of Philadelphia.
Correction: We erroneously posted a photo of Stephen L. Morgan, associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Cornell University, rather than the suspect, Stephen P. Morgan. We apologize for our error.