PHILADELPHIA — A former South Jersey college student was shot to death during an argument with his girlfriend near Drexel University on Tuesday night.

Rowan College at Gloucester County identified Merlos Mukaj, 21, as the former student who was gunned down on Lancaster Avenue. College president Frederick Keating said the school community was "saddened to learn about the tragic death of one of our former students. Our sincere sympathy and prayers go out to Merlos’s family and friends during their time of grief."

Makaj last attended the school in Sewell in 2016. He had been enrolled in the computer science program.

Joseph Howanski, 24, of Philadelphia, was charged with murder and related offenses after shooting Makaj three times.  Police did not disclose the identity of Mukaj's girlfriend, Howanski's relationship with the pair or a motive for the shooting.

A Drexel spokeswoman said that Howanski is a former student of the university.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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