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3 men found shot dead in car near Columbia University in New York

The bodies of three men have been found in a car parked near Columbia University. WNBC-TV's Katherine Creag reports.

Three men were found shot to death inside a parked vehicle a block away from the Columbia University campus in Morningside Heights Thursday evening, authorities say.

The three victims are in their 20s and 30s and were found inside a 2009 BMW parked near Claremont Avenue and W. 122nd Street, police said. They appear to have been killed inside the car, as no windows in the car were shattered.

They do not appear to be students at the university.

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Two of the victims were found in the front seats of the car, and were shot in the head or neck; the third was found in the rear passenger seat and was shot in the left temple, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The BMW had a temporary registration and its license plates were reported stolen, Browne said. The vehicle had only been parked for an hour when it was discovered.

A passerby coming from Riverside Park noticed the bodies while walking past the car about 6:30 p.m., a police official said. The passerby was able to flag down a passing patrol car.

Detectives are checking to see if security cameras along the street recorded any activity leading up to the discovery of the car. Browne said there were no early reports of anyone hearing gunshots, and no one called 911 for help.

Columbia students were alerted to the incident in a campus-wide email and text alert.

A Morningside Heights resident said she wasn't shaken by the incident because it was out of character for the neighborhood.

"I definitely feel safe," said Jordan Steiner. "It just seems like a very random act in this area."

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