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Campus Police, students point fingers over campus shooting

Students report understaffing by police, questionable response to shooting incident

By Ian Robinson
On October 31, 2019

GSU Police Chief Jerry Melton said the organization who hosted a party where an on campus shooting occured lied to him. Courtesy photo

Grambling State University students are still asking questions about the shooting that occurred at an on-campus party in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 18 that left two people, including a Grambling State University police officer, wounded. 

Students are questioning the actions of the Grambling State University Police Department and the role that they played at the party. 

According to students in attendance, police officers did not perform security checks at the doors of the Frederick C. Assembly Center, where the party was held. Attendance at the event is said to have been around 700 people. 

“They did not pat me down nor did they attempt to,” Onaje Morris said. 

Students said that an earlier altercation occurred at the party and the DJ requested for a police officer over the microphone. 

“When I got in there, it seemed as if something was about to down,” Morris said. “Ten minutes later, I’m standing not too far from the DJ booth and somebody just started shooting.” 

Morris said that his first instinct was to run.

“While I’m running, I look to the side and it’s a police officer running almost faster than me out of there,” Morris said. 

Students who attended the party also alleged that other officers at the scene of the shooting left the scene with the wounded officer, leaving the second victim to be aided by students.

Grambling State University Police Chief Jerry Melton said that the onsite officers were not initially aware of the second victim. 

“They did not know that there was another victim,” Melton said. 

Melton said that students were inadvertently preventing his officers from rendering aid by fighting over the second  victim. 

“When they did come back to assist that victim, there were students around who were not allowing them to do what they needed to,” Melton said. 

Melton said university police officers cannot perform their jobs if it is not safe.

“Students have to take responsibility for their actions,” Melton said. 

“I know their emotions are running high, but sometimes you got to say, ‘let me step back’ so they can do what they’ve got to do.’”

The victim, who was shot twice in the chest, was later airlifted to Oschner LSU Health in Shreveport, La.

Melton said that the University Police Department were lied to by Kappa Kappa Psi, the organizers of the party.

“My first thought before the officers took the detail, ‘we need more officers’,”  Melton said. “It was convinced to me that they could handle it and we were trying to give them a student discount rate to allow them to have an event.” 

Larry Green, president of the Epsilon Rho chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi band fraternity, said that he contracted the Grambling State University Police Department to work security for the party. 

“I talked with the police lieutenant and I told them to make sure that they checked people at the door,” Green said. “He complied with it.”

Melton said that the party was too much for only three officers oversee. 

Melton also said that members of the organization were bringing in guests through side doors, which became a security risk. 

“The guy that had the gun, from what I heard, did not come through the front door,” Melton said. 

Green said that he does not recall he or other members of Kappa Kappa Psi bringing in anyone through side doors. 

“He definitely came through the front door, because I was at the front door,” Green said. 

Melton said that knows better to send more officers to future events on campus. 

Following the shooting, university officials held a meeting to discuss safety plans for homecoming or other upcoming events on campus. 

Melton also said that the university is redrafting contracts in regards to security at sponsored events on campus. 

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